Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Thoughts and Some Information About Junior First LEGO League

In the United States, this year (fall 2006) there is a Junior First LEGO League (JFLL). This competition is open to children aged 6-9. Registration is open now and closes on September 29, 2006. The official announcement of what the challenge is will be made on September 15, 2006. This year’s competition is called Nano Quest.

Each team for the JFLL can have a maximum of 6 team members guided by one adult mentor.

The project is a scaled down model of the challenge that is being done this same year by the "First LEGO League" (which is for ages 9-14). The below quotes are from this page of the JFLL site.

"Using an open-ended LEGO building set, they will design a model depicting an
aspect of this year’s "Nano Quest" Challenge. Children will spend approximately
one month exploring, investigating, designing and building a model made with
LEGO bricks. In conjunction, teams create a "Show Me" poster that depicts the
teams’ experience during this process, through drawings and words."


Teams will show their project in various ways, either to friends, at local events or at an official JFLL Expo.

"JFLL introduces children to the concepts of teamwork and basic design skills, creating an initial interest and hands-on approach to science and technology through the familiarity and fun of LEGO building. The goal: provide an experience that will begin to transform youngsters and open their eyes to the possibilities of improving the world around them through acknowledgement, thought, planning and technology."

The team requires the use of certain LEGO components. The base kit is $90. There are optional additional LEGOs sold at a discount price which can be purchased if desired ($22 and $10). If your team attends an official JFLL Expo there is an additional participation fee that must be paid.

Anyone can do this, any child, schooled or homeschooled, as long as they are 6-9 years old.

After much discussion with other parents, and input from families who participated in the team for the older children aged 9-14 last year, I have decided for this year to have my 9 year old participate in the younger group (JFLL) for this one year then to move to the more complicated, more difficult and more competitive team next year, if he is interested. I am not interested in pushing my children too early into program such as this for competition’s sake.

One important factor for me to consider is age-appropriateness. I have heard that the regular LEGO League for ages 9-14 can be challenging for a 9 year old, and the age span of 9-14 is pretty wide, in my opinion, with very different maturity levels, different cognitive abilities, various mathematical ranges and communication skills varying quite widely in those six years!

As well I am not discounting the issue of scheduling; it will be much easier on all of us if both boys are on one team rather than having two boys on two different teams with two meetings at two different times. Our JFLL team will be comprised of homeschooled children.

What is JFLL? webpage

JFLL Expo Dates

JFLL Registration Page

Material Kits for JFLL

In case you are interested in learning about the more complicated competition for children aged 9-14 which is called the First LEGO League, go here.

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2 comments:

Anne said...

Christine,

Just found your blog by googling for Junior lego league connecticut. I have a7yo homeschooling son who would love to be on such a team and we are also in CT - could you point me in the right direction?

Mama Anne

christinemm said...

Hi Anne, If you want to captain a team you would read the information on the official site, which I linked to in my blog entry. When you are ready to register, the step is to get your credit card ready then click the links on the site to order the basic kit ($90 plus shipping fees). You follow the directions to buy the kit, pay with your credit card, and the kit will be delivered to you.

Obviously you will also have to assemble your own team of children that want to be on your team, check their ages for eligibility rules, etc.

My boys are on a team and we ordered the kit last week. One thing I learned is that at the time the kit is ordered you do NOT have to provide the names of the children on the team or any personal information, just supply the billing information, the shipping address for the kit and the credit card payment. I assume that the starter kit will have more information, I am not sure.

That is all I can share with you! Good luck with your team!