After-school programs: The key to nurturing and building the workforce of tomorrow

Ed.: What a novel idea—an after-school program not focused on tutoring and remediation. 

FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) is one of four competitive levels designed by FIRST, using LEGO® Mindstorms NXT robotics kits as its platform, and aimed at an international audience of students ages 9 through 14.  The Museum of Nature & Science coordinates and oversees all FLL events for the North Texas area. The largest of these events is the Regional Championship Tournament, typically held in January of each year.


FIRST [For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology], an organization founded by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, inspires young people to be science and technology leaders with an overriding purpose of designing, building and operating a robot, while also applying business and marketing skills. One of my current students, who joined a FIRST Robotics Team to assist with the business and marketing, told me that she was looking into integrating engineering into her post-high school plans. When I asked her why, she said, “Participating in FIRST made me realize that I had skills and interests I didn’t know I had.” That’s an example of the power of FIRST.


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