FIRST® LEGO® League teams who attended the September 12 Meet the Experts Festival sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton received inspiration and got their creative juices flowing with a multitude of activities. Held at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (a supporter of the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award presented by XPRIZE®), teams had a chance to meet local area experts in waste management and hear a keynote address from Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST Distinguished Advisor and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Teams got a taste of programming as they participated in a USPTO Race to the Patent game, complete with robot missions. Albert Einstein wigs were on hand for the “dress like your STEM career” photo booth; kids had a chance to pick from wide range of STEM careers and pose next to “flat Woodie” in anticipation of the real Woodie arriving on site to let team members sign his famous shirt and talk about how the problem solving skills teams learn from FLL fit into today’s educational landscape. Woodie talked about the difference between training (example: learning calculus) and education (example: learning to think using the concept of calculus). The good news—while some school systems focus more on the training, FIRST LEGO League is all about true education!
Teams who stopped at the popular Virginia Clean Waterways booth saw examples of how our waste affects marine mammals and our oceans (a whopping 71% of the Earth) and received a glass blue marble representing our planet. It came with the charge—just as we have one precious earth to keep clean and free from trash, keep your one blue marble safe throughout the TRASH TREKSM season as you work to discover how you’ll use your problem solving skills to invent solutions reducing trash on our Earth.
For more of photographer Jay Westcott’s photos from the event, check out Booz Allen Hamilton’s online photo album.