Putting FIRST Things First
When asked why he is involved in FIRST LEGO® League (FLL), five-year FLL coaching veteran K.K. Quah responded, “It’s the best way to get kids interested in science and math.”
Quah, whose FLL team placed 5th overall at the Minnesota Open in April, believes in the positive impact the competition has on participants. So much so, in fact, he recently wrote a book to help new and not-so-new FLL coaches prepare for the event.
Preparing Your Team for FIRST LEGO League will be available through LEGO Education starting this fall.
“So many new coaches are intimidated by the rules and especially the technology,” said Quah. “The reality is you don’t have to be technical to compete in FLL. Concentrate on what you do know and you can do it!”
FIRST LEGO League is a global robotics program that ignites enthusiasm for discovery, science, and technology in kids ages 9 to 14. Each year, FLL teams embark on an adventurous Challenge based on current, real-world issues.
Guided by a team coach and assisted by mentors, FLL team members research and solve a real-world problem based on the Challenge theme. Teams must then present their research and solutions in addition to building an autonomous robot using engineering concepts.
“Teams plan all year,” Quah said. “Most meet weekly. Our team met for half a day every Saturday. It’s a huge commitment for both the team member and their parent(s). The hardest part is to get that parent commitment.”
Another challenge faced by teams is the research component of the competition.
“I insist that every team member gets involved in the research,” said Quah. “Only one or two will be given the task to present the research, but we all work together to collect information."
A major fault of new teams especially is underestimating the intensity of the competition.
“It’s not just about building a robot and completing tasks,” Quah said. “Team members learn how to solve problems. They develop an understanding of the tools it takes to create those solutions, and then work to effectively explain to others what was achieved by each solution. That's a lot to take in.”
“There is no curriculum for teamwork taught in today’s school system,” said Quah. “FLL not only teaches it, they require it.”
To find out how you can take your team to the next level, check out Quah’s book online at www.LEGOeducation.us, or call 1-800-362-4308 to plan an order.