The first FLL Jr Expo was hosted in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 3 June 2017. The expo was a culmination of 4 months of preparation of 11 teams by three facilitators. 11 hour classes were held each week at two childrens’ homes in the city.
The expo was held at a local church. This venue was used to host the FLL competition in the 2016 Animals Allies season for the local university after student strikes forced the competition to move off campus for safety reasons. The venue worked very well as it had both indoor and outdoor child friendly facilities. Sadly the venue may not be available for the competition next near.
A group of 26 volunteers were trained to assist on the day. Some were new to FLL and some came from past teams and current teams. One of the most exciting developments was to have one boy from a boys’ youth centre in the city come back as a volunteer to the program he himself enjoyed as a team member through a development program that started with New High in 2015.
The day started off much earlier than planned as the children from one of the homes arrived almost 2 hours early while the venue was being set up! Thankfully the venue has a soccer field and jungle gym and the volunteers could simply start some informal fun early.
The event was run using a 10 minute countdown with a song on Biodiversity after the countdown hit zero. This ran in a loop on three big screens and teams knew to move from one activity station to the next while the Biodiversity song played. This worked well and helped with the time management of the event. Activity stations included peg board, where teams competed to peg as many rows as possible during a specific time. Ping Pong Bounce, where teams tried to bounce as many balls as they could into tins during a specific time.
Building a marble run as a team to see which team can get their marble to take the longest to come down. And moving discs with the use of straws and a lot of breath from one point to another.
In the art activity, teams put together moving animals with split pins and coloured them in. While the Happy Tap activity had them designing with geometrical shapes.
Of course the fun had a purpose and teams were allocated specific times to chat to the public about their work and given a chance to show off their posters and models to reviewers in the reviewing rooms. Two reviewers per reviewing room (of which there were two) meant that all teams were seen within the allocated hour and a half.
Just before the High 5’s and prize giving, teams got to decorate a slice of bread cut like a bee hive with honey, icing sugar flowers and icing sugar bees.
The children were delighted with their medals and certificates. All in all the morning was a wonderful success.