FLL in Google's Blog

We believe that getting kids interested in science, computers, and technology early on is very important, so we were honored last weekend to receive the “FIRST LEGO® League Outreach” award at the Northern California FLL championship tournament. FLL is a program encouraging fourth- to eighth-grade kids to study science and technology. Each fall, student teams (who compete at the local, national and international level) build autonomous LEGO® robots to tackle a set of challenge missions – and finish as many as they can in 2-½ minutes! This year’s challenge: called Nano Quest.

We hosted a couple of FLL meetings and put on our own Google Qualifying Tournament (beta) in December. We loved hosting these events – they are a great way to reach out to the community, and putting on the tournament was fun! We had a couple of dozen Google volunteers, several FLL volunteers, and 16 student teams – about 150 people in all. (The winning team from our Northern California region will go on to the World FLL Festival – 104 teams from 38 countries – to be held in April in Atlanta.)

So we thought that was that, until next season. Neither we or our partners at Playing@Learning (who coordinate regional FLL events in Northern California, along with the FIRST Vex Challenge, a more ambitious program for high school students) expected what happened next: other Silicon Valley companies took notice, and are now planning to get involved. That’s a great kind of viral marketing – the more outreach, the better.

FLL teams form between May and September, with qualifying tournaments in late November or early December. So if you’re between 9 and 14, and robotics and a LEGO® challenge sound like a lot of fun – there’s bound to be a competition for you.