Children as Creative World Citizens
FIRST LEGO League aims to inspire children and young people to become tomorrow's engineers, researchers and problem solvers.
One question we adults can ask ourselves is, how can we inspire children to be creative world citizens? Through FIRST LEGO League, children and young people learn to solve challenges within a socially relevant theme.
One person who tries to inspire children to be creative world citizens is the teacher and team leader Patrick Fuglsang, who for four seasons has been a mentor for different teams at FLL. During the four seasons, Patrick has become more clear on his role as a mentor. His job is to support the children as much as possible, by letting the children take responsibility, to do co-creative exercises with the children, to make sure that the process is fun and that everyone is involved.
In deep waters
The first season he was in over his head and attended courses to gain more knowledge. The teams handled the situation far differently. One team stepped up and came up with a cool project, while the other team was a big mess. Patrick learned that managing two teams on his own was not realistic. He needed to spend more energy on “teaching” the children the core values of FIRST LEGO League, which is about the participants having to respect each other, work together as a team and have fun. He learned that the children could do more than they thought possible.
In the second season, he was mentoring three teams and chose to have three parents as supervisors - one for each team to give the teams the attention they deserved. Before the season Patrick had been a judge in an international competition to gain more knowledge for the new season. He brought home the idea that the children should dress up on FLL tournament day. From this season he learned that he should let the children solve "conflicts" and just be ready to back them up if needed. Patrick decided that it is important that he also lives and breathes the core values.
Involve the children equally
With experience from the two previous seasons, Patrick chose that in the third season, the children should sign up for the topics that appealed to them to keep them motivated. He also emphasized that FLL is comprehensive and requires dedication. In addition, the children should have some air in the schedule to reduce the pressure. Three or four weekend camps were organized, where the children spent the night at school, worked with FLL, did co-creative exercises and had lots of fun - for example karaoke nights. He had a parent associated with each team so when the tournament day arrived, he didn't have to choose between the teams, and also to let the children take even more responsibility and reap the fruits of their labor. It really meant a lot to the mood and the ownership in a positive way. It became very clear to Patrick in his third season that recognition is important to the kids.
7 tips for a facilitator
- Offer topics that interest the children
- Emphasize that FLL requires dedication
- Make extra time gaps when planning
- Arrange the framework to accelerate the project and create team spirit
- Assign one parent per team
- Let the children take responsibility
- Let the children get the recognition
Prior to the FLL tournament day 2019, Patrick wrote - The season has run with a great atmosphere so far, with both lots of fun, but also seriousness. They are very determined to realize their solution as soon as FLL is over. They have raised enough money to fund all of their FLL plans. I'm proud and looking forward to seeing them proudly share their work on November 9th.
What is it that children get out of being in the FLL?
By joining FIRST LEGO League, children develop personal and professional skills, promote their creativity and strengthen their ability to solve problems.
Facts about FIRST LEGO League
- The FIRST LEGO League was developed in a collaboration between the New Hampshire United States FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) organization and the LEGO Company.
- Competitions have been held for children and young people aged 6-16 in several countries since 2000.
- There have previously been FIRST LEGO League events in Billund. From 2001-2006 a group of teachers and enthusiastic citizens arranged local events - and in 2003 the the Scandinavian final was also held in Billund. At that time, Billund Municipality supported the work.
- In 2016, CoC Playful Minds rearranged the FIRST LEGO League tournament in Billund. The tournament was again held in 2017 and 2018.
- In 2019, the tournament was held on November 9 at the Billund Center.