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Friday, 04 Oct 2013

Earlier this year, the SA Branch Executive Committee agreed to support the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) by distributing information to ACS members and asking them to become judges if interested.

FLL is a robotics focused program for students aged 9-16 and is designed to stimulate students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and careers.  FIRST is an acronym meaning “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”.   The FLL program is a global activity, initiated in 1996, hosting local events in many countries with a global total of 23,000 teams anticipated in 2013.

The FLL program promotes strategic thinking, innovation and teamwork by students and also fosters interaction between industry and schools. Each year the program uses a different science and technology topic as the theme of the competition.  The recent themes have been biomedical science (2010), food science (2011) and assistance for the elderly (2012). The 2013 tournament is focused on natural disasters - or more appropriately our ability to respond to them.

Student participants are exposed to potential career paths within the chosen topic, in addition to solidifying the STEM principles that naturally come from participating in a robotics program. Team members also learn valuable life and employment skills which will benefit them no matter which career path they choose.

There are now have 32 teams registered for the 2013 Adelaide tournament which will be held on Sunday 17 November 2013. The tournament needs volunteer judges and we are hoping that ACS SA Branch Members are willing to assist.

Please see the following links which describe the nature of this year’s FLL Challenge: and the judging rubric:  

Each judge is involved in just one aspect of that judging - you don't have to do it all! The process is well organised, making the role of judges relatively straight forward.

As a judge, you would be involved in 9 or 10 sessions in which students will present their work or attempt a task for 5 minutes and then the panel members discuss it and make an assessment before the next team arrives 10 minutes later. There will also be a judges’ meeting in the fortnight prior to the tournament to provide further information to judges in preparation for the event. The student teams will be judged by concurrent panels of judges to reduce the total workload on judges – but that also requires a large number of judges which is why I’m seeking as many judges as possible.

The following web page has further information about FLL:  (provides an overview of the “Nature's Fury" theme of the 2013 program)

If you think that you can help with the tournament on Sunday November 17 please respond to Ralph Leonard via email or the SA Branch

Please feel free to pass this on if you can think of other people who might have an interest in judging.