LEGO League in the Library

It is no secret that school librarians serve as leaders in a number of ways. One such way is by serving as coordinators of unique student programs. For example, school librarians lead literature circles, coding clubs, news crews, and much more. Another new program that is finding its way into the library is FIRST LEGO League (FLL).

FLL is a program that challenges elementary and middle school students to think like scientists and engineers. Each year, FLL introduces a scientific and real-world challenge for teams to focus on and research. This program gives younger students the opportunity to investigate real-world issues such as food safety, water conservation, and energy using STEM concepts. Teams of students design, build, and program a LEGO robot to perform functions in relation to the problem.
Middle school students engage in FIRST LEGO League, and elementary school students participate in FLL Jr. Last year was my first time coordinating FLL Jr. at my elementary school. FIRST LEGO League Jr. is a non-competitive, hands-on STEM program geared toward children ages 6 to 10. Teams of up to six students explore real-world themes with an exclusive LEGO Education Inspire Model. Students use this model as a starting point but design a model of their own with LEGO elements and a WeDo 2.0 robot. Each year, FIRST LEGO League Jr. presents a new and exciting challenge to ignite the creativity of students. Last year’s challenge was called Mission Moon.

During Mission Moon, my team of students learned about the moon and explored what kinds of problems they would need to solve in order to live there. Students read several library books about space travel, astronauts, and astronomy. Students conducted research on NASA’s website and by using the library’s online databases. The team created a pamphlet about space travel that provided information on how energy, air, and water are essential to sustain life on the moon.

The team demonstrated what they learned by designing and creating a moon base and poster. Students presented their poster at the school district’s annual STEAM Showcase where attendees consist of students, families, and community members. Many states even host a FLL championship tournament where students present their research and robots to a live audience.

Show Me Poster
I was very excited when this year’s BOOMTOWN BUILD FLL Jr. Challenge was revealed. Currently, my students are exploring the growing needs and challenges of the people in our community. The team is imagining and creating a building that will solve a problem and make life easier, happier, or more connected for the people that use it.

FIRST LEGO League aligns nicely with AASL’s Standards integrated frameworks (2018). School librarians can support FLL by embedding the inquiry process; implementing technology as a tool for learning; focusing on the effective use of a wide range of resources to foster information skills; and partnering with other educators and experts on presenting topics and strategies (AASL 2018).

School librarians may want to consider coordinating a FIRST LEGO League as yet another way to support student learning and enrichment. Librarians are leaders; that’s a fact. Organizing programs in the school library such as FLL could be what your students need to become leaders themselves.

What does it cost to participate in LEGO League Jr.?
Fees for the annual team registration, a LEGO WeDo 2.0 set, and event participation cost approximately $350 USD per team (2019/2020 season.).

Click here to learn more about getting started with FIRST LEGO League and FIRST LEGO League Jr.

Works Cited
AASL. 2018. National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries. Chicago: ALA.
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