All Colorado FIRST News

2018 FIRST LEGO League Was Out of this World!

By FIRST LEGO League, FLL 2018, Newsletter

The 2018 INTO ORBIT season for FIRST LEGO League has concluded and was one of the best seasons yet. Colorado had over three hundred teams of 4th-8th graders compete in 12 tournaments across the state. Their mission? To solve a physical or social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration.

Students hit the ground running in early August to come up with a solution while applying science, technology, engineering, and math to solve a real-world problem. But what sets the FIRST LEGO League apart from other STEM programs is its foundation of team building.

“That’s the lesson that all of us need to learn. FIRST LEGO League encourages coaches to teach teamwork and how to work together” says Colorado FIRST LEGO League Operational Partner, Kevin Popp. In addition to teamwork, Kevin says “FIRST LEGO League teaches you to persevere and to never, ever give up”.

In mid-December, 72 teams faced off in a day long competition for the Colorado FIRST LEGO League State Championship. Volunteer judges selected team Legit Lego Lions from St. Mary’s of Littleton as the 2018 Champions. In April 2019, the Legit Lego Lions will be competing at the FIRST® World Championship in Houston, TX.

Second place champions Rising Stars, will go on to compete at the FIRST LEGO League Legoland California International Open in May of 2019. Joining them will be the third place team, Lego Wranglers from Preston Middle School.

Teams Mission Control and Gearnados were nominated for the Global Innovation Award, which is designed to showcase the real-world, innovative solutions that the FIRST LEGO League teams create as a result of their projects. The 2019 INTO ORBIT Global Innovation Award (https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/global-innovation) is planned for late June 2019.

For more information on Colorado FIRST LEGO League and how to sign up or volunteer, visit https://coloradofirst.org/COFIRST/programs/fll/

Sponsor Spotlight: Lockheed Martin

By Newsletter

Advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is a critical focus for Lockheed Martin. They know firsthand the importance of educating young people in these areas. The future success for companies like Lockheed Martin depends on a constant supply of highly trained, highly capable talent.

“We believe strongly that advancing STEM education requires collaboration among industry, educators, policy makers and families,” says Kelly Collins, Manager of Community Relations at Lockheed Martin. “As an industry leader, we are committed to working with programs like ColoradoFIRST that help educate and inspire tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians.”

This is why ColoradoFIRST and Lockheed Martin make such great partners, their goals are aligned with one another. ColoradoFIRST innovative programs motivate the youth to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills.

Increased participation of grades K-12 in all of the ColoradoFIRST programs will help build the talent pipeline for companies like Lockheed Martin, which will lead to a stronger economy for Colorado, and the nation as a whole and something we can all get behind.

Marsha Williams – Volunteer Judge Advisor

By Newsletter

Talk about commitment! This is the 13th year Marsha Williams will be a volunteer at the FIRST Robotics Competition. For her it is about involvement of the younger generation, stirring their collective team and competitive passion, and demonstrating that the youth need not be physicists to have great careers in STEM.

Marsha makes clear that FIRST is a volunteer driven organization, and volunteers drive the engine that fuels the programs and makes the competitions go.

Judging at FIRST events doesn’t require a technical background. Although a “techie” in Marsha’s own words after technical roles spanning her career up to senior executive levels, she separates volunteer judges into two categories: technical such as herself, and non-technical volunteers such as CFOs and marketing directors who mentor the young people from a business view, guide them in developing business plans, finding sponsors and raising money, and in developing that spirit of entrepreneurship. From a judging perspective, “Awards are not just given for technical accomplishments, but for the business endeavors of the team, for team spirit, etc.”

“At the FIRST Robotics Competition there are over 40 different volunteer roles at the event,” says Marsha. Within that framework it’s easy for anyone to find a need that aligns with the time and passion they have to offer. She is passionate about FIRST, and passion is infectious throughout the program and competitions, amongst the young participants, the volunteers, the families of the young people, and even the spectators coming to enjoy the sports-modeled competitions.

“It is said that you get what you give, but in this case, I get so much more than I give in return!” adds Marsha.