FIRST Lego League (FLL) Qualifying Tournament - POC Sandy Engle

By Cindy McNicholl

Event Details

Date(s) & Time(s)::

November 17, 2012 at 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM

Location: Rome Catholic School

Phone: (315) 336-6190



Event Description

ROME — Rome Catholic School will host a FIRST Lego League (FLL) Qualifying Tournament on Saturday, November 17th at their location on 800 Cypress Street in Rome. Doors will open to the public at 12:30 pm with the opening ceremony beginning promptly at 1:00 pm. Admission is free and refreshments will be available.

Twenty-four teams of students aged from 9-14 from the Central New York area will be competing for the right to move up to the Championship Tournament, to be held 2 weeks later at the State University of New York Institute of Technology Campus in Marcy. There, they will meet up with 12 other teams who advanced from a similar qualifying event hosted by Herkimer County Community College on November 18th .

FIRST spells out “For the Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology,” and is considered by many as a sport for the mind. Founded in 1989 by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, FIRST is a not-for-profit organization which seeks to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology through programs that motivate the pursuit of education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. FIRST has four programs for young people, starting at age 6 and continuing through middle school and high-school levels up to age 18.

As part of the FIRST LEGO League (FLL), children are immersed in real-world science and technology challenges. Each year, the challenge is different. Teams of up to 10 kids research and design their own solution to a current scientific question or problem as part of a research project. They then build autonomous LEGO robots that perform a series of missions on an obstacle course related to a yearly theme. Teams also learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.

Through their participation, children develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society.

The FLL 2012 Challenge, called SENIOR SOLUTIONS, focuses on improving the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities. The FLL program has over 200,000 children, ages 9 to 16, (9-14 in US) from more than 60 countries, who are exploring the topic of aging and how it may affect a person’s ability to maintain his or her lifestyle – solving issues like getting around, keeping in touch, or staying fit.

The Central NY region boasts close to 50 teams that are part of this growing worldwide FLL phenomenon. These local FLL teams began their season at the beginning of September and will showcase their hard work at the qualifiers at RCS and HCCC, culminating in the championship event at SUNYIT on December 1st.

FLL answers the call for developing young minds who might be interested in fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). These disciplines have been at the forefront of many rigorous debates at the national, state, and local level. Academia, industry, and government officials have shouted out for more investment in these areas to ensure that United States businesses and institutions remain globally competitive. The need for National investments in STEM has also been mentioned specifically during this year’s Presidential and Congressional Campaigns.

One way to make a positive difference is to think globally, but act locally.

As part of this call to prepare our youth for STEM-related fields of study and professions, Rome Catholic School, is leading the charge for K-12 students in Central NY, as a STEM school and noted for its integrated robotics curriculum. Kindergarten students experiment with strength and design using Cuisenaire Snap Cubes. Lego “Simple Machines” are included in the technology lessons for Grades 1 and 2. “WeDo” Lego Robotics with 12 basic designs and laptop programming are taught in Grades 3 and 4. Lego “NXT” Robotics is integrated in Grades 5-8. After school robotics club and the FIRST Lego League competition team is open to students in Grades 6-8. For students who wish to challenge themselves, Lego Tetrix Robotics and programming are offered as an elective to students in Grades 9-12.

RCS is also at the forefront of our community for providing cyber security, cyber forensics, Dimension M (mathematics) and other STEM-related opportunities for K-12 students within their curriculum. Rome Catholic has partnered up with Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate in Rome, NY, as part of the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) to further enhance STEM skill sets in the areas of Cyber Security and Robotics. NDEP is the official sponsor of the Rome Catholic School robotics team “The Robonauts”. Engineers from the local Rome Site have been working closely with RCS faculty to ensure that these technical areas are sufficiently supported. Rome Catholic also partakes in Math and Science activities, designed by the National Science Center (NSC), for the JROTC Outreach Program. The NSC is in partnership with the Army's Cadet Command to provide hands-on math and science training for high school cadets. Older students are learning about math, science, and basic electronics.

For more information about FIRST and FLL, you can visit or If you would like to learn more about getting involved locally, please visit or
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