Inspiring future engineers
FIRST LEGO League
The theme of this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition, “Body Forward,” challenges students with robotics projects that demonstrate how engineering and biological and medical sciences are combining efforts to find solutions to healthcare problems.
Students program LEGO MINDSTORMS robots to explore medical questions involving bone repair, rapid blood screening, development of bionic eyes, nerve mapping, object control through thought, overcoming genetic predispositions to diseases and maximizing the body’s potential to heal itself.
FIRST LEGO League is an exciting and fun global robotics program, designed to ignite an enthusiasm for discovery of the basic principles of science, technology, engineering, and math in children, ages 9 to 14. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Each year, FLL teams of three to 10 children, embark on an adventurous challenge, based on current, real-world issues.
Camp Sparky brings engineering fun to elementary schools
Going to college seems a remote possibility for many fifth graders. But a group of ASU students has set out to change their thinking, by bringing the fun of college learning experiences to them.
Six times a semester, about 80 children from Title I elementary schools in the Phoenix area welcome ASU’s Camp Sparky to their classrooms. ASU students plan an engineering day camp at a different school every other Friday, bringing the children to the Tempe campus at least once during the semester.
The goal is to expose them to college students and to higher education, inspiring them to have confidence in their future success. More than half of the youngsters participate in federally funded lunch programs, and many have no family members who attended college.
“The kids have a lot of fun, and their teachers tell us how much impact we’re having,” Eric Beerman, a sophomore in computer science from Cincinnati and a program coordinator for the camp this semester, says. “I grew up knowing I’d go to college. These kids don’t have that example. We always talk to them about their future. We tell them that you don’t have to be rich to go to college.”
Camp Sparky was founded about 13 years ago, and it continues to be entirely student-run, winning nine awards from the Student Organization Resource Center, more than any other group.