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Tiger Talk: FIRST LEGO League forms at PR-B School

We are always doing our best to provide high quality opportunities for our students at Pine River-Backus Schools. Our next adventure will "STEM" off from our current "STEAM" programs with the launching our own midlevel FIRST LEGO League to include a coach and students from fifth through eighth grades.

Just a quick review: STEM stands for science, technology, engineering & math; STEAM adds the "A" for art & design.

The concept behind our STEAM programs: STEAM is all about getting the left brain working with the right brain, or your creative side collaborating with your intellectual side.

STEAM focuses on collaboration; creative, flexible problem-solving; and communication all within the mathematical and engineering framework.

According to a recent study by the Huffington Post, "85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't been invented yet." Students need 21st Century skills that STEAM programming offers to become flexible, adaptable and better prepared to enter college and careers that are currently unknown.

Now, what exactly is FIRST LEGO League (FLL)?

"The FIRST LEGO League in Minnesota is part of an international robotics program that includes more than 200,000 kids in 63 countries. Teams collaborate to build and program an autonomous robot to score points on a thematic playing surface (the Robot Game) and create an innovative solution to a problem correlated to the yearly theme (the Project), all while guided by the FLL Core Values. These three elements; the Robot Game, the Project, and FLL Core Values make up what is called The Challenge." -

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Schools and Community Education are looking to start FIRST LEGO League this month. Although we will not be eligible to compete in this year's regional tournaments, we plan to get a strong understanding for how the overall program will be run and how to prepare for next year.

Our coach will attend trainings to become familiar with the rules, regulations and process of being part of the FIRST LEGO League. We will also be conducting site visits with other schools in the region to get firsthand knowledge of how the programs work from schools and coaches who are already part of the league.

The season will start in November and run for about six to seven weeks, Monday through Thursday after school. Students will experience what it will be like preparing for the "Challenge" and go through the same process and opportunities as the regular season. Students can expect to use the same engineering design process (ask, imagine, plan, create, improve) while maintaining a growth mindset.

It all adds up to more great opportunities for our students while they have fun and learn to apply science, technology, engineering, art and math concepts (STEAM). They will use their imaginations to solve real-world problems, develop critical thinking and team-building skills, and use teamwork and good sportsmanship in an educational, competitive environment.

To be part of the PR-B FIRST LEGO League, contact PR-B Community Ed at 218-587-2080 or