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Lego and partners open online robotics competition for students

If your child likes "Star Wars," robots and Lego, they're in luck! 

FIRST Robotics, in partnership with Star Wars: Force for Change (opens in new tab), announced the preliminary details of their 2020-21 season, Game Changers (opens in new tab) Additionally, FIRST and LEGO Education also announced the preliminary details of the FIRST LEGO League 2020-21 season, RePlay (opens in new tab).

Anyone between the ages of four to 16 can participate and registration is open now (opens in new tab) for the online program, which begins Aug. 4.

"Whether it's finding their people or finding their path, students will gain the skills and confidence with FIRST to forge ahead and build their future," the group said in a statement (opens in new tab)

Related: Lego's awesome Women of NASA building set in photos (opens in new tab) 

The goal of the program is to promote learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects while including the "fun and excitement of traditional sports," through teamwork, the group added in the same statement. Students who participate will learn the fundamentals of STEM while applying what they've learned to real-world problems and developing skills related to learning and critical thinking, the group said.

Students can join any of the three groups within the program (though there are some age restrictions): the FIRST Lego League (ages 4 to 16, in which students learn about robotics), the FIRST Tech Challenge (ages 12 to 18, in which students design and program robots) or the FIRST Robotics Competition (ages 14 to 18, in which students use robotics learning in a head-to-hand challenge).

In some cases, there will be Lego merchandise available for participants. This includes a "Discover" box featuring a playgroup and play structure and is for ages 4-6, an "Explorer" box featuring a thermometer, winch and a minifigure for ages 7+ and a league challenge mat that kids can play with robotics on. More details on product availability will be included on the website, Lego said (opens in new tab).

"From Discover, to Explore and then to Challenge, students will understand the basics of STEM and apply their skills in an exciting competition while gaining productive learning habits, confidence and teamwork skills along the way," Lego said on their Facebook page (opens in new tab).

More information will be available about the competition in the coming weeks, available at FIRST Lego League (opens in new tab)

Correction: This story has been updated to note that the FIRST Lego League 2020-2021 season Replay is separate from the FIRST Robotics Game Changers.

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.