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How Programming LEGO® Robots is Promoting STEM Education

When we hear the word “LEGO®,” surely all of us have a few distinct memories of either playing with them, or even stepping on them. These timeless building blocks have been connecting generations for decades, teaching logical thinking and design skills as well as giving space for endless creativity. With technological advances, today whatever you can build, you can code as well! The international FIRST LEGO League Challenge brings together kids who are interested in just that, and EPAM Hungary had the honor to be a part of one of the country's finals.

The FIRST® LEGO® League is one of the world’s largest robotics competitions, with multiple regional, national and international rounds. EPAM organized one of the Hungarian regional finals on the February 12 working together with the IT Department of the University of Debrecen. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was not open to the public, but anyone could join via online streaming.

The competition allowed 13 teams to demonstrate their LEGO® robots in action. Their task was to build a robot from LEGO® elements, using LEGO® technology, then they needed to program their robot to solve a series of tasks during a timed round. This season of the  FIRST® LEGO® League focused on logistics and shipping, therefore the teams had to become familiar with how products are selected and delivered and how they reach their destination. To provide a full experience to children there were other fun STEM-related activities for them to explore during the competition.

The best teams in the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge’s regional competitions made it through to the national finals, and the best overall Hungarian teams were then eligible for the FIRST® LEGO® League World Championship, with the first-place finisher going to Houston, TX, USA, for the World Final in April 2022. The Hungarian team that made the most progress in the Championship was “FLLubber” from Budapest – congratulations to them. 

The common mission between FIRST® and EPAM is to prepare children between the ages of 4 and 16 for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges, while they also master the necessary skills of critical thinking and team work. Therefore, the purpose of the challenge, which is even more important than collecting points, is for teams to have fun while working together and to become confident at solving technical problems. This objective aligns well with EPAM’s eKids initiative, where we aim to excite kids in a playful way about considering a career in IT and engineering.

Disclaimer: FIRST® is a trademark of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). LEGO® is a registered trademark of the LEGO Group. FIRST® LEGO® League is a jointly held trademark of FIRST and the LEGO Group.  Neither FIRST nor the LEGO Group sponsor, authorize or endorse this article.