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INTO ORBIT℠ with 2018 FIRST® LEGO® League competition

08/10/2018 8446 views 58 likes
ESA / Education

How can I walk my dog on the Moon? What happens if I sneeze in space? Just some of the questions that more than 500 000 children around the world will be asking and attempting to answer over the next months, as part of this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition, a global STEM program with an annual theme that inspires and challenges young engineers and scientists.

In Europe, ESA has teamed up with LEGO Education to provide inspiration, examples and expertise to the teams of children aged 6 to 16 who are competing for a place in the World Finals in Houston and Detroit, USA. To give an additional incentive, on 1 August, ESA astronaut and Space Station commander Alexander Gerst sent a message from orbit, together with a very helpful LEGO colleague!


The competition is divided into two categories: FIRST LEGO League Jr. for students age 6 to 9 and a season challenge named MISSION MOON℠, and FIRST LEGO League for students age 9 to 16 with a season challenge named INTO ORBIT℠. Teams usually have between five to ten team members, and the participants will have to develop and apply their science and engineering skills, as well as build on their communication and team work abilities, to succeed. The children build and program autonomous robots using LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® to participate. The FIRST LEGO League “Robot Game” takes place on a Space-themed playing field that ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen helped develop as one of the advisory team members. 

Reach out to the FIRST LEGO League organizers in your country here.

How can ESA help you participate?

Inspiration. ESA will be releasing a series of sneak peeks behind the scenes over the next few weeks, giving ideas to the children involved about what real-life problems are solved in the Agency and how we tackle them. ESA also encourages teachers to visit the national web pages of its European Space Education Resource Offices (ESERO)*, a source of space-related STEM education resources, materials, ideas and videos available in the national language and fitting with the national STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) school curriculum. All the ESA ESERO resources are available for free!

Did you know?

Every month, ESA Education offers teacher training on robotics and technology, also using LEGO tools, at its e-technology lab in Belgium. Look for the open opportunities for primary and secondary school teachers.

As part of its educational strategy, every year ESA runs several other school projects inviting student teams to tackle a real-life challenge and develop their STEM skills, as well as communication and team work. Find out about the other space-themed projects coming up this school year: European Astro Pi Challenge, Moon Camp Challenge, European CanSat Competition, and Climate Detectives (the latter three will on line by the beginning of October 2018). For these projects, ESA and partners will support teachers and the student teams with expertise as well as with a wealth of classroom resources and different tools available for free.

Find out more at!

*ESERO websites