Farmingdale State College Hosts FIRST LEGO League Practice Tournament

Elementary and Middle School Students Prepare Their Robots for the "FOOD FACTOR ® Challenge"

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(Kings Park, New York) - School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI) has announced that the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League (FLL) practice tournament will take place on December 10 from 9 a.m. to noon at Farmingdale State College. Students will test out their robots as they prepare their robots for the FLL's Qualifying and Championship Tournaments during the "FOOD FACTOR ® Challenge." The FLL Qualifying Tournaments will be held January 28-29, 2012 at Berner Middle School in Massapequa, and the FLL Championship Tournament will take place March 3, 2012 at Longwood High School in Middle Island.

In the FOOD FACTOR ® Challenge, teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO ® MINDSTORMS ® NXT to solve a set of food safety missions as well as research, develop, and share their innovative solutions to improve the world's current food preparation processes.

Television personality, author, and celebrity chef Mary Sue Milliken believes FIRST LEGO League students' research will help advance education and greater awareness of food contamination issues. "Food safety is a brilliant theme for FIRST LEGO League because we eat every day, and it is that very 'fuel' affecting all the cells in our bodies," she said. "Kids love learning about food - and I'm excited to see the inventions they create to solve problems that my industry faces.

"Food safety education is key to serving safe and delicious meals, and getting students involved early on is a great way to lay the foundation for a future culture of food safety in any setting where food is cooked and eaten," said Clay Hosh, Instructional Design Manager for the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe, a Food Safety training and certification program, which is the foodservice industry's most widely recognized program that has issued 4.6 million certifications to date. "The nation's one million restaurants serve 130 million customers daily, making food safety the highest priority for our industry. We look forward to seeing what these young, creative minds will come up with, and hope to inspire them to join us in their future careers."
Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST was created to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. First LEGO League is an international program for 9- to 14-year-old children created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 based on their common belief that fun and learning go hand-in-hand, and that an inspired mind can accomplish anything. Each September, FIRST LEGO League announces the annual Challenge to teams, engaging them in authentic scientific research and hands-on robotics design. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS ® technologies and LEGO play materials, children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program robots to complete missions based on real-world challenges. After eight intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments.

"FIRST LEGO League so brilliantly captures the natural curiosity and creativity of youth, and combines it with real-world issues and research and teamwork activities that put children in a position of identifying and creating innovative solutions to big problems," said Jens Maibom, vice president, LEGO Group. "In this manner, FIRST LEGO League inspires children around the world to realize the power of their creative thinking skills in making a real difference, which naturally makes them feel good and motivates them to continue learning by doing."

Janet Anderson, Director of SBPLI's FLL program, said: "We are pleased to coordinate the Long Island FIRST LEGO League Tournament. It is an extension of the FIRST Robotics Competition. Together these programs are opening a world of technology, science, and engineering to so many Long Island students, helping to build our high tech workforce of the future."

"Farmingdale State is excited to partner with SBPLI and FIRST LEGO League," said Dr. Lorraine Greenwald, Dean of the School of Business, Farmingdale State College. "In fact, students in Professor Marie Pullan's class are so engaged with this semester's robotics assignments they asked for additional lab time. These students are volunteering to be on campus early Saturday morning to help middle school students with this practice tournament."

For more information about the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, visit


School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI) was founded in 1984 by Fred Breithut with the goal of developing partnerships between local high schools and businesses that would provide students with practical experience and curriculum development, while helping the business community develop its future workforce. Over 100 partnerships have been formed. In 1999, SBPLI brought the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program to Long Island, where 14 high school teams participated. Since then, the FIRST robotics program has grown to 50 teams, with over 2,000 students participating in FIRST Robotics and LEGO League programs on Long Island each year. The 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition will be held at Hofstra University on March 29-31, 2012.


Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRSTTM (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With the support of many of the world's most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, FIRST LEGO ® League for children 9-14 years old, and Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to To learn more about the "Smart Move" Challenge, go to


LEGO Systems Inc. (LSI) is the Americas (North America and Latin America) division of The LEGO Group, a privately-held firm based in Billund, Denmark. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities through high-quality, creatively educational play materials, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough." For more information, visit

FIRST is a trademark of US FIRST.

LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of The LEGO Group. © 2009 The LEGO Group.