Research Assignment: What you are supposed to do
The FLL Research Assignment is an important part of the preparation for the competition. Each team should work on the its own research project. Corresponding the challenge topic “FLL World Class” there are several steps to fulfill for each team.
Consider that the Research Assignment consists of the following parts: Research & Analysis of the Topic, Find a Research Question, Development of a innovative solution and sharing your team´s findings with others. Explain in your presentation at the tournament how you have fulfilled all parts of the FLL Research Project. Keep in mind that the presentation should not be longer than 5 minutes!
Before you determine your particular topic, try to learn as much as possible about this area. Use various sources such as: internet, books, newspapers, interviews with experts, etc. In the following you will find some suggestions for this year’s theme.
You have probably learned so many things in your life that it is hard to count them. You started learning as soon as you were born. You learned to walk, tie your shoes, and how to read this Challenge. You might have learned to dance, paint, or play an instrument. You might even have learned how to kick a soccer ball at the perfect angle to score a goal.
To have fun in many core subjects – like history, science, art, and math – you need to develop specific skills. In fact, skills are your tools to learn at any age. They might include:
- Critical thinking
- Problem solving
- Information literacy (knowing how to find and use the information you need)
- Understanding technology
There is so much to learn, but people do not all learn the same way. Just like there is more than one way to build your robot, there is more than one way to learn most things. We call these different ways of learning “learning styles”. Most people learn through some combination of watching, listening, reading, writing, moving, and even playing. Do you have a favorite way to learn new knowledge or skills?
No matter what learning style you use most, there are many surprising tricks that might help a person learn. For example:
- Some video games help you understand how the three-dimensional world fits together. This skill is called “spatial reasoning”. It could help you engineer and innovate.
- Singing the rules of a new game might help you remember them more easily than reading them.
- Building with LEGO bricks could help you learn math and engineering concepts. (You probably knew that already – you’re in FLL!)
Some learning tools or techniques might make learning more exciting, while others help you remember the information for a longer time. Your Project mission this season is to find a better or more innovative way to help someone learn.
Make a list of various topics that you would like to learn more about. Select one topic and use it to develop your FLL Research Question. Use this format: “How could we improve the way that someone learns (your team’s topic)”? Now find out as much as you can about this particular topic. At the end you should have a good idea of the current answers to your team’s FLL Research Question.
Find out how people learn about this topic today. Researchers, teachers, psychologists and other are always making new discoveries about how we learn.
To get started, think about all the topics you have learned about in the last day, week, or month. Make a list. You might have learned something in one of these places, but include topics you learned in other places too:
- Playground or park
- Activity center like a band room, art studio, or karate school
- Natural area like a forest, prairie, or desert
Look at each team member’s list. What did you learn and how did you learn it? Did you have any difficulties learning any particular topic? Did you use any tools or objects to help you learn each one?
Then research all the ways people learn about this topic today. You might use books, interviews, the internet, radio, TV or lots of other resources to answer questions like:
- How do people usually find out about your topic for the first time?
- What tools or technology do students usually use to learn about it?
- Why is this topic important and who is it important to?
- Does the location or method matter when learning about this topic?
This might be a great time to interview a professional. The professional could be someone who teaches the topic you selected or works with it every day. How did they learn about your topic? Why are they passionate about it? Did they like the topic when they first learned about it? What are the drawbacks to the way people learn about this topic today?
Create an innovative solution to the problem. Think about a solution that adds value to society by improving something that already exists, using something that exists in a new way, or inventing something totally new. Use the ingenuity of the entire team. The “crazy” idea of a team member is perhaps the starting point for an innovative solution. One solution may appear to you so obvious that you wonder that this problem still exists.
Your solution might improve the learning experience for someone on your team or for someone else.
- How can your solution make learning easier or more fun?
- Can it help you learn something yourself? Or help you teach what you know to someone else?
- What could be done better? What could be done in a new way?
- What new tools or processes would help someone remember the information for a longer time?
Using your research, think about how someone could make your solution a reality.
- Is your idea different in some way from all the other solutions to learn about this topic?
- What would your solution cost?
- Do you need any special technology to make your solution?
Can anyone use your solution or only some people?
Once you have a plan for your solution, share it with others! Can you share with a professional or someone who helped you learn about your topic? Can you think of any other groups of people who might be interested in your idea? Consider sharing with someone who could provide feedback about your idea. Getting input and improving are part of the design process for any engineer. Don’t be afraid to revise your idea if you receive some helpful feedback.
Think about who your solution might help. How can you let them know? Can you present your research and solution to people who learn or teach? Or other students in your school?
Finally, prepare a presentation to share your work with the judges at a tournament. When you share with the audience, use the talents of your team members. Find a creative way to explain your FLL Research Question and solution. Could you perform a skit? Create a website? Make a comic book? Rap? Write a poem, song, or story? Your presentation can include posters, slideshows, models, multimedia clips, your research materials, and more. Your sharing can be simple or elaborate, serious or designed to make people laugh while they learn. Be creative, but also make sure you cover all the essential information.
To be eligible for Project Awards and advancement, your team must:
- Identify your team’s FLL WORLD CLASS question and explain a solution of the topic.
- Explain your team’s innovative solution and how it can be happen in the real world
- Describe how your team shared your findings with others.
- Show different types of research resources (offline, online, experts …)
- Meet the presentation requirements:
- Give your presentation live; you may use media equipment (if available) but only to enhance the live presentation.
- Include all team members; each team member must participate in the Project judging session in some way.
- Set up and complete your presentation in 5 minutes or less with no adult help.