FIRST® Programs Challenge Students to Discover the Wild World of Animals

FIRST® LEGO® League
and FIRST® LEGO®
League Jr. Task More than 300,000 Children Worldwide to Think About
How People and Animals Work Together

MANCHESTER, N.H.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#ANIMALALLIESFIRST®
(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an
international, K-12 not-for-profit organization founded to inspire young
people’s interest and participation in science and technology, announced
that the 2016-2017 FIRST®
LEGO® League
and FIRST®
LEGO® League Jr.
seasons task students with improving
how animals and humans learn from and interact with and help one another.

“There’s so much we can learn from animals,” says Gretchen Hooker,
Project Specialist, Design Challenges, Biomimicry Institute. “When we
think of challenges we have to solve in our world, you can often find an
analogy looking at the natural world.”

For the FIRST LEGO League ANIMAL ALLIESSM and FIRST
LEGO League Jr. CREATURE CRAZESM Challenges, FIRST
collaborated with experts in the fields of biomimicry, ecology,
agriculture and animal husbandry, including representatives from
University of New Hampshire, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium,
National Geographic Society, Biomimicry Institute and Cummings School of
Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, among other specialists to
create a theme and challenge missions that reflect how innovation and
technology have enabled humans and animals to exchange learning,
friendship, help, daily needs, protection, amusement, and love.

“The real-world challenges presented each year by FIRST LEGO
League and FIRST LEGO League Jr. allow children to actively
engage in the exploration of a global issue– all while honing their
innovative problem-solving skills, working as a team, and applying
concepts they’re learning in the classroom,” said FIRST President
Donald E. Bossi. “This year, the topic of the animal kingdom will
challenge kids to think about animals as partners in the quest to make
life better for all of us.”

  • FIRST® LEGO®
    League ANIMAL ALLIES
    SM Challenge

In the 2016-2017
ANIMAL ALLIESSM Challenge
, more than 240,000 children,
ages 9 to 16*, from over 80 countries will explore how we can improve
our relationship with animals. Students are challenged to think about
all the different ways that people interact with animals, and how we can
be better allies.

“People and animals and the environment really are linked together. One
can’t live without the other and what affects one affects the others,”
says Lisa Freeman, professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at
Tufts University. “We have to make sure we optimize the health of
people, animals and the environment together, and that we work together
to make all three healthier.”

FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and
engineers. During the ANIMAL ALLIESSM season, teams of up to
10 students will choose and solve a real-world animal/human interaction
problem as their Project. Teams will also build, test, and program an
autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS®
technology to solve a series of animal-interaction-themed missions as
part of the Robot Game which include: bee keeping; working with a
service dog; milking automation; and more. Throughout the season, teams
will operate under a signature set of Core
Values
, celebrating discovery, teamwork, and Gracious Professionalism®.

*ages vary by country

  • FIRST® LEGO®
    League Jr. CREATURE CRAZE
    SM Challenge

The 2016-2017 CREATURE
CRAZESM Challenge
will reach over 55,000 children, ages 6
to 10 from 29 countries, and help them learn how humans and animals help
each other every day.

“I think animals and kids are just so happy working with each other, and
kids always love animals. I think it’s one of the purest and coolest
kinds of interactions you’ll see between a child and someone other than
their parents,” says Lee Magpili, a LEGO® designer who was
part of a team that designed this season’s Challenge.

Each year since 2004, FIRST LEGO League Jr. presents a new and
exciting challenge to ignite creativity in young children. This year,
while exploring the real-world theme of human and animal relationships,
teams will learn about simple machines as they build a model made of
LEGO elements with a motorized part. They will also learn to illustrate
and present information through a Show Me Poster. Throughout
their experience, teams will operate under a signature set of Core
Values.

Also new this year is the addition of The Inspire Set, a special LEGO
Education kit that will be used by teams to inspire creativity within
the Challenge theme, and The Engineering Notebook which will create a
more structured experience for teams. Read more about these new
additions to the FIRST LEGO League Jr. program here.

FIRST LEGO League and FIRST LEGO League Jr. are two
of four K-12 robotics programs within the Progression of Programs at FIRST®.
The organization offers a progression of four international,
after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs
for students in K-12.

Currently in its nineteenth year, FIRST LEGO League
anticipates its largest season ever, with approximately 31,000 teams
competing in hundreds of Qualifying Tournaments and Championship
Tournaments. Teams will also have the opportunity to participate at two FIRST LEGO
League World Festivals, to be held in conjunction with the FIRST Championship,
April 19-22, 2016, in Houston, and April 26-29, 2016 in St. Louis.

About FIRST®
Accomplished
inventor Dean
Kamen
founded FIRST®
(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to
inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based
in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative
programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while
motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology,
and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies
and more than $25 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit
organization hosts the FIRST®
Robotics Competition
for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST®
Tech Challenge
for Grades 7-12; FIRST®
LEGO® League
for Grades 4-8; and FIRST®
LEGO® League Jr.
for Grades K-4. Gracious
Professionalism
® is a way of doing things that
encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and
respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST,
go to www.firstinspires.org

ABOUT THE LEGO GROUP
The LEGO Group is a privately held
company based in Billund, Denmark. The company is still owned by the
Kirk Kristiansen family who founded it in 1932. The LEGO Group is
engaged in the development of children’s creativity through playing and
learning. Based on the world-famous LEGO® brick, the company
today provides toys, experiences and teaching materials for children in
more than 130 countries.

For more information, visit www.LEGO.com.

FIRST® and the FIRST® logo are
registered trademarks of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and
Technology (FIRST®). LEGO® and MINDSTORMS® are
registered trademarks of the LEGO Group. FIRST® LEGO® League,
FIRST® LEGO® League Jr., ANIMAL ALLIESSM,
and CREATURE CRAZESM are jointly held trademarks of FIRST and
the LEGO Group. ©2016 FIRST and the LEGO Group. All rights
reserved.

Contacts

MEDIA CONTACT:
FIRST®
Brooke
Blew, 603-206-2048
bblew@firstinspires.org
or
Haley
Dunn, 603-666-2494
hdunn@firstinspires.org