“Did you learn anything new?” is one of my favorite questions to ask FLL team members with regard to their project research. I love hearing about the new directions their research took them, what interesting information they learned along the way, and – especially – if any of this information surprised them. As they explain this to me, I also get to see and hear firsthand the fun they had in the learning of something new.
We all know the incredible learning value of FIRST for the students – especially in the areas of research, critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills. But what about us adult participants? What is the value for us?
As we get older, our brains have to work harder to make new neural pathways, and it becomes more difficult to learn new tasks. Many scientists believe it’s important to keep challenging our brain to learn new things and make new connections. What better way to keep our ‘older’ brains stimulated than to be around a group of Elementary and Middle School students who are actively discovering and exploring new challenges!
As coaches and mentors of FLL teams, more often than not – as our teams learn something new – so do we. With every year’s project challenge comes a new topic to explore and discover, new field trips to take, new information to gather and new people to talk with. Not only do all of us have the opportunity to learn along the way – we also discover that we, as adults, are having just as much fun learning something new as the students are!
It is never too late to learn something new – and have fun doing so.
What about the rest of you ‘adult kids’ out there? What new things have you learned?