To coincide with the release of its new action packed animation adventure Big Hero 6, the Walt Disney Studios has joined forces with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Bechtel to champion the 2014/15 FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) competition, which is designed to encourage more young people to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at school and develop skills for employment.
The new season of the annual FLL competition, which kicked off last week, tasks 9-16 year olds with building and programming robots, using LEGO MINDSTORM robots, to perform a range of challenging tasks, including shooting a ball into a small goal and unlocking a hoop from a trap.
Disney’s Big Hero 6, which hits cinemas on 30 January 2015, showcases the world of robotics in a new and exhilarating way. The film tells the story of the special bond that develops between Baymax, a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.” The film is inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and is directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Tangled”).
Gareth James, Head of Education at the IET, said: “It’s great to have Disney on board for this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition as it will help to grow awareness of robotics and engineering among a much wider audience – and hopefully get the message to young children that studying STEM can lead to fascinating and exciting careers.
“The UK is currently facing a significant skills gap in engineering and technology. It is predicted that we will need 87,000 new engineers each year for the next decade. With help from Disney, we want to attract more and more young people to things like engineering and robotics, so that they consider pursuing careers in these areas in later life.”
There will be a special video message from the directors of Big Hero 6 highlighting the importance of developing engineering skills at a young age and Disney will be presenting a unique Baymax trophy to the overall winner of the Core Values Award at the UK and Ireland FLL final in February 2015.
The winner of the UK and Ireland final will then go on to St Louis, USA to represent the UK and Ireland at the FIRST® LEGO® League World Festival in April 2015.
The IET is FLL’s UK operational partner. Supporting the competition is part of the IET’s commitment to show young people the benefits of careers within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). For the second year, FLL will be sponsored by Bechtel – one of the world’s most respected engineering, construction, and project management companies.
FIRST LEGO League helps young competitors to develop skills in design and technology, programming and control, mathematics, research, strategic thinking and teamwork. For more information visit: www.firstlegoleague.co.uk.