FIRST LEGO League National Award

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The North Texas champs are now national champs. A group of sixth and seventh graders known as the “Texarkana College Bionic Bulldogs” are the winners of the 2011 Judges Award for Innovative Solution at the national FIRST LEGO® League competition at California’s LEGOLAND®.

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FIRST LEGO League National Award

  1. 1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Jennifer Whitus, Communications Manager 214-426-4629 jwhitus@natureandscience.orgTEXAS’ ROBOTICS CHAMPS WIN AT NATIONALSLocal FIRST® LEGO® League Compete in California May 21-22, Thanks to Support from Perot Foundation, Museum of Nature & Science DALLAS, Texas (June 1, 2011) – The North Texas champs are now nationalchamps. A group of sixth and seventh graders known as the “Texarkana College BionicBulldogs” are the winners of the 2011 Judges Award for Innovative Solution at thenational FIRST® LEGO® League competition at California’s LEGOLAND®. The Bulldogs were previously declared the overall tournament winners of the 2010North Texas FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) robotics competition by the Museum ofNature & Science at the Finals Tournament held Saturday, January 29 at the HockadaySchool in Dallas. That win qualified them to compete in the Finals tournament May21-22 in California. Their trip to the national contest was made possible by donations from the PerotFoundation, Texarkana College Foundation and the Museum of Nature & Science.During the annual “Chairman’s Night at the Museum” event on April 7, the Museum ofNature & Science presented the Bulldogs team with a check for $3,000 and made arequest to other Museum constituents for additional support to fund the trip. Theresponses came quickly – $4,000 from the Perot Foundation and $3,000 from theTexarkana College Foundation. “I’m very impressed with the young people who are part of the Texarkana Bulldogs, (cont.)
  2. 2. FIRST® LEGO® League National Win, page 2and I’m excited to hear they won the Judges Award at the national FIRST® LEGO®League championships,” says Ross Perot, namesake of the Perot Foundation. Theprominent technology icon personally met with the Bulldogs prior to their California trip.“They’re extremely bright, curious and inventive, and they work well as a team, which isreally important. These outstanding students are going to be our next generation ofscience leaders, and I’m very proud that they represented Texas in the nationalchampionships.” “This is such a blessing,” says Kathleen White, the Bulldogs’ coach. “We are all soexcited. Ive worked with robotics programs for over five years, and every year is betterthan the last. This is my first champion team. These kids worked harder than any groupIve ever worked with. They became best of friends, learned so much, have met so manywonderful people and had such a great time doing it.” Designed to introduce the fundamentals of engineering, the FIRST® LEGO® League isa competition where teams of students race robots they’ve built from LEGO® blocks andprogrammed themselves. The robots are put through obstacle courses and challengedwith various tasks. The students then square off in a battle of wits by completing andpresenting an accompanying research project. The theme for the 2010 FLL was “BodyForward,” which was incorporated in both the robotics obstacle course and the researchpursuit. The Bionic Bulldogs beat out more than 100 other teams during several roundsof competition to win their North Texas championship. “In our efforts to support our mission we strive to provide every opportunity possibleto engage North Texans in top-quality science experiences,” says Steve Hinkley, directorof education for the Museum of Nature & Science. “The choice to have MNS support theFLL team comes from our belief that we have an obligation to support the nextgeneration of scientists and engineers as best we can – whether this is accomplishedthrough providing great programs, financial support or a combination of the two. Under the Museum’s direction since 2008, the FLL contest has grown from 20 teamsto 125 teams in the three years it’s been held in North Texas. The FIRST® mission (cont.)
  3. 3. FIRST® LEGO® League National Win, page 3statement goes hand-in-hand with MNS’ mission statement of “inspiring minds throughnature and science” and aligns with the Museum’s goal to encourage youth to pursuecareers in math and science. Registration for 2011 FLL is currently underway. The newtheme is “Food Factor” and North Texas qualifiers will be held on December 3 and 10.Details on the upcoming contests and registration are available online atwww.natureandscience.org. ###About the Museum of Nature & ScienceThe Museum of Nature & Science – the result of a unique merger in 2006 between theDallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Childrens Museum– is an AAM- accredited non-profit educational organization located in Dallass FairPark. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, the museumdelivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor experiences through its education,exhibition, and research and collections programming for children, students, teachers,families and life-long learners. The facility also includes the TI Founders IMAX® Theaterand a cutting-edge digital planetarium. The Museum of Nature & Science is supported inpart by funds from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the Texas Commissionon the Arts and HP. The Museum of Nature & Science also is building a new $185-million museum on a 4.7-acre site in Victory Park to complement the Fair Park facilities.To learn more about the Museum of Nature & Science, please visit natureandscience.org.

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