FIRST and LEGO Education Inspire Students to Build Cities of the Future

New Offering, FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. Discovery Edition, Allows Even Younger Children to Engage in Hands-On STEM Exploration

MANCHESTER, N.H., August 15, 2019FIRST®, a robotics community that prepares young people for the future, and LEGO® Education announced that the 2019-2020 FIRST® LEGO® League and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. seasons will task students to explore topics related to architecture, infrastructure, and sustainability of future cities, as well as a new offering in the suite of FIRST programs: FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. Discovery Edition.

Increasingly, it is critical to prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow and in industries that do not even exist yet. Studies show that early exposure to STEM, specifically between first and third grade, provides students with the foundation necessary to fulfill an increased number of STEM-related careers (Early Exposure to STEM and Its Impact on the Future of Work, 2018). Developed in consultation with early childhood education experts, FIRST LEGO League Jr. Discovery Edition is a playful introductory STEM experience for children in grades K-1 that ignites their natural curiosity and builds their habits of learning. Working in teams of four, children emerge more confident, better equipped to face future challenges, and discover the joy of learning.

“The great addition of FIRST LEGO League Jr. Discovery Edition to the Progression of FIRST Programs allows the youngest students to engage with STEM in a fun, hands-on way,” said Donald E. Bossi, president of FIRST. “To create a pipeline for a diverse STEM workforce of tomorrow, we must get kids interested in STEM at an early age, even earlier than we once thought. This early engagement makes a marked difference in these students’ self-confidence and curiosity in STEM for years to come.”

Learn more about FIRST LEGO League Jr. Discovery Edition.

For the FIRST LEGO League Jr. BOOMTOWN BUILDSM and FIRST LEGO League CITY SHAPERSM Challenges, FIRST collaborated with experts in the fields of architecture, civil engineering, infrastructure, sustainability, and urban planning. These experts, who made up the Challenge Advisory Team, helped to create a theme and challenge missions that reflect what it takes to design and construct practical, sustainable, and beautiful buildings and spaces catering to the diverse needs of their users.

“No one can predict what the workplace will look like years from now, but we can prepare children today for this uncertainty by developing the skillset they will need. Programs like FIRST LEGO League foster collaboration, resilience and a comfort with STEAM subjects, including coding and robotics. With the addition of FIRST LEGO League Discovery Edition, students at the earliest of ages now have an opportunity to explore and build their confidence in learning from the very beginning,” said Esben Stærk Jørgensen, president of LEGO Education.

Team registration for both programs is now open.

  • FIRST LEGO League Jr. BOOMTOWN BUILD Challenge

The 2019-2020 BOOMTOWN BUILD Challenge will reach more than 169,000 children, ages 6-10, from more than 50 countries and inspire them to create buildings and spaces to improve quality of life in the fictional city of Boomtown. Through 12 guided sessions in their Engineering Notebooks, teams of up to six children will learn about principles of design and basic STEM concepts from Boomtown residents, May and Marco.

“When kids engage with STEM at an early age, they jump in with boundless energy, curiosity, and creativity,” said New York Times best-selling children’s author Andrea Beaty, whose titles include “Iggy Peck, Architect” and “Rosie Revere, Engineer.” “They become confident, creative problem solvers who approach the world with fresh eyes. I can’t wait to see what marvelous solutions the kids come up with to the challenge before them!”

Each year since 2004, FIRST LEGO League Jr. presents a new and exciting challenge to ignite creativity in young children. While exploring the real-world theme of architecture, teams will use LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 to build and program a model that moves, learning basic engineering and programming concepts. They will also illustrate their research through a Show Me Poster. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under the signature set of FIRST Core Values, which emphasize discovery, inclusion, innovation and fun.


The 2019-2020 CITY SHAPER Challenge will task more than 310,400 children, ages 9-16* (*ages vary by country), from nearly 100 countries to explore a range of scientific challenges and opportunities within the fields of architecture and urban engineering.

FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the CITY SHAPER season, teams of up to 10 students will choose and solve a real-world problem in an open-ended project. Teams will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a series of architecture-themed missions as part of the Robot Game, which include: construction of housing units, improving infrastructure, accessible playgrounds; and more. The exclusive LEGO models that line the field are inspired by the stories and experiences of STEM professionals who represent the many fields and roles needed to design, construct and maintain buildings and spaces. Like FIRST LEGO League Jr., teams operate under the FIRST Core Values. 

FIRST LEGO League Jr. and FIRST LEGO League are two of the K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) robotics programs in a Progression of Programs offered by FIRST. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international not-for-profit organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators.

The BOOMTOWN BUILD and CITY SHAPER Challenges are part of the 2019-2020 FIRST season, FIRST RISE, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change.

LEGO Education is a founding partner of FIRST LEGO League Jr. and FIRST LEGO League. FIRST LEGO League Jr. receives global support from LEGO Education. FIRST LEGO League is delivered annually through the support of global sponsors, and this year, John Deere joins 3M, NI, Rockwell Automation and LEGO Education.


About FIRST®
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (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 support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $80 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to