The object of the competition is to design a container to protect a pumpkin using math and science skills. Then, the container with the pumpkin inside is dropped from a designated height. The students also showed their creative side by decorating the containers too. About 20% of the pumpkins dropped survived the 50 foot fall. Students were asked to fill out design sheets to submit with their entries, and also had the option of entering a design poster competition. $1,500 in cash prizes were awarded to the winning schools.
Tomorrow’s innovators practice imaginative thinking and teamwork. Guided by two or more adult Coaches, FIRST LEGO League* teams (up to 10 members, grades 4-8**) research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, then compete on a table-top playing field.
It all adds up to tons of fun while they learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM), plus a big dose of imagination, to solve a problem. Along their discovery journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges. They also practice the Program’s Core Values.
TARC gives students opportunities to apply their math and science skills to a real world project outside of the classroom. For many students, this experience yields their first significant personal realization of how what they are learning in school is relevant to endeavors that are fun, challenging, and represent potential future career pathways. Through TARC, students have discovered that they enjoy solving math and science problems in the context of resolving difficult and complex design issues. Often TARC is also their first exposure to the aerospace industry. They learn what aerospace engineers and skilled technical workers do and what it takes to become one of those professionals.