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Chinese teams inspired at Lego competition in Houston

China Daily| Updated: April 26, 2023 L M S

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Chinese team members cheer for their peers showcasing their LEGO creations in the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in Houston last week. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Three teams from China competed in a recent Lego event; one of them took home an award, and all benefited from cultural exchanges with other young students.

At the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) World Festival in Houston, a team from China's Renmin University Affiliated Primary School won the Global Core Values Award at the FLL Explore.

The four-day event (April 19-22) drew more than 168 teams and 1,100 students ages 4 to 16 from more than 48 countries.

The Chinese teams also included students from Beijing Bayi School, Hangzhou Chongwen Experimental School and Gansu Yumen City No 3 Middle School.

They were selected after winning regional competitions in their respective areas that included more than 7,000 teams.

FLL is a joint program of LEGO Education and FRIST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). It boasts 25 years of history of robotic Lego innovation for young children and youths, with more than 100 countries participating.

In China, FLL is operated jointly by LEGO Education and the Center for Educational Technology and Resource Development (CETRD) under the Ministry of Education with more than 100,000 members.

This year's theme was exploring sustainable energy sources. Chinese students worked on wind and solar themes and created figures such as a solar panel installer and a sustainability lead and substation technician.

"I had an amazing time at the FLL Global Festival," said Wang You'en, a second grader from the Renmin school. He said he enjoyed the event's fantastic atmosphere and the opportunities to learn about different cultures from teams around the world.

"My team and I worked together to solve problems, share ideas and have fun. It was really exciting. It was a great chance to improve our tech and innovation skills and abilities. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it," Wang said.

Yang Zihao, an eighth grader from Beijing Bayi School, said he was honored to participate in the festival.

"Our team designed a creative research project that included small, interactive activities featuring Chinese culture, such as playing shuttlecock and Chinese fast-paced storytelling. These activities attracted many foreign participants and helped them better understand Chinese traditional culture," he explained.

Yang also said he appreciated the opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Such experiences broadened perspectives for him and his teammates, he said, adding: "It gave us more confidence and courage to explore the future."

Sophie Liu, head of LEGO Education China, praised the Chinese students. "We are thrilled to see the extraordinary results achieved by the Chinese teams on the global stage. The reach of the program brings fascinating stories of teams to make the public better understand learning through play at all levels," said Liu.

Li Ping, head of the CETRD, said she was proud of and admired the innovative thinking and practical abilities that Chinese students exhibited.

"We hope to see more Chinese students participating in FFL at the international level, as this program provides them with valuable opportunities to gain 21st century skills and contribute to China's future development," she said.

Li emphasized that the program has played a critical role in advancing STEM education in China and nurturing students' innovation and practical skills.