FIRST Programs Challenge Students to Tackle Global Water Crisis

FIRST® LEGO® League and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. Task More than 300,000 Children Worldwide to Think About How and Why We Use Water

MANCHESTER, N.H., August 16, 2017 FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international, K-12 not-for-profit organization founded to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, announced that the 2017-2018 FIRST LEGO League and FIRST LEGO League Jr. seasons task students to explore the human water cycle.

“I know how much being involved in FIRST means to these students,” said Sarah White, environmental compliance specialist at UniFirst Corporation. “I hope that through this year’s subject matter, they develop a love for all things water as I have [through my work]. Perhaps I’ll see some of them in the workforce in a few years!”

For the FIRST LEGO League HYDRO DYNAMICSSM and FIRST LEGO League Jr. AQUA ADVENTURESM Challenges, FIRST collaborated with experts in the fields of water purification, wastewater collection, environmental compliance, hydrology, agriculture, medicine, and more. These experts made up the Challenge Advisory Team, which included representatives from DEKA Research & Development, Washington State University, and the Institute for Water, Environment & Health at United Nations University, among others. These specialists collaborated with FIRST to create a theme and challenge missions that reflect how we find, transport, use, and dispose of water.

“Each year, FIRST LEGO League Jr. and FIRST LEGO League design a real-world challenge that allows children to tap into their innate curiosity and appetite for discovery,” said Donald E. Bossi, president of FIRST. “Working as a team to explore a global issue, these students sharpen their innovative problem-solving skills, and apply concepts they’re learning during the school day. The timely topic of the human water cycle will task kids with the important duty of understanding what happens to our water and how we can improve the ways in which we use it.”

Team registration for both programs is open now:

  • FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. AQUA ADVENTURESM Challenge

The 2017-2018 AQUA ADVENTURE Challenge will reach over 65,000 children, ages 6-10, from 43 countries and help them learn where the water they use every day comes from, as well as what happens to it on its journey through the water cycle.

Each year since 2004, FIRST LEGO League Jr. presents a new and exciting challenge to ignite creativity in young children. This year, while exploring the real-world theme of how water is used by humans, teams will use LEGO® Education WeDo 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 a signature set of Core Values, which emphasize collaboration, discovery, and respect.

New this year is an exclusive LEGO Education Inspire Set containing 700+ LEGO® bricks and elements teams can use to construct their team model. This set will also include a yearly model – a water pump for this season – that serves as a starting point for teams.


In the 2017-2018 HYDRO DYNAMICSSM Challenge, more than 235,000 children, ages 9 to 16*, from nearly 90 countries will explore how we can improve the human water cycle. Students are challenged to learn all about how we find, transport, use, and/or dispose of water, and propose solutions for any issues they identify.

“Fifty percent of all human illness is the result of waterborne pathogens,” said Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST. “If you gave people clean water, you would empty 50 percent of the hospital beds in the world. We can work together to solve the world’s water crisis, and who better to contribute to this work than the young people who will inherit today’s global issues?”

FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the HYDRO DYNAMICS season, teams of up to 10 students will choose and solve a real-world human water cycle problem as their Project. Teams will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a series of water-usage-themed missions as part of the Robot Game. Missions include removal of a broken water pipe, movement of sludge, filtering water, and more. The exclusive LEGO models used to demonstrate these missions include a replica of Kamen’s groundbreaking water purification system, the SlingShot. Throughout the season, teams will operate under a signature set of Core Values, celebrating discovery, teamwork, and Gracious Professionalism®.

*ages vary by country

FIRST LEGO League Jr. and FIRST LEGO League are two of four international K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) robotics programs in the Progression of Programs offered by FIRST.

Currently in its 19th season, FIRST LEGO League anticipates its largest impact ever, with approximately 33,000 teams competing in about 1,400 Qualifying and Championship Tournaments globally. Select teams will also have the opportunity to participate at two FIRST LEGO League World Festivals, to be held in conjunction with the FIRST Championship, April 18-21, 2018, in Houston, and April 25-28, 2018, in Detroit.

In 1998, FIRST Founder Dean Kamen and the LEGO Group’s Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen joined forces to create FIRST LEGO League, a powerful program that engages children in playful, meaningful learning while helping them discover the fun in science and technology. The program offering has expanded to include the youngest participants through FIRST LEGO League Jr.

FIRST LEGO League Jr. receives global support from LEGO Education. FIRST LEGO League is delivered annually through the support of global sponsors LEGO Education, 3M, NI and Rockwell Automation.

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 $50 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
About LEGO® Education
LEGO® Education offers playful learning experiences and teaching solutions based on the LEGO system of bricks, curriculum-relevant material, and physical and digital resources to preschool, elementary, middle school and after school.  In partnership with educators for more than 35 years, we support teaching in an inspiring, engaging and effective way. Our solutions enable every student to succeed by encouraging them to become active, collaborative learners, build skills for future challenges, and establish a positive mindset toward learning. To learn more, go to
FIRST®, the FIRST® logo, FIRST® Robotics Competition, FIRST® Tech Challenge, and Gracious Professionalism® are trademarks of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®). LEGO® and MINDSTORMS® are registered trademarks of the LEGO Group. FIRST® LEGO® League, FIRST® LEGO® League Jr., HYDRO DYNAMICSSM, and AQUA ADVENTURESM are jointly held trademarks of FIRST and the LEGO Group. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2017 FIRST and the LEGO Group. All rights reserved.