Youth Robotics Competition Kicks Off At The Cox Science Center

The Polo Park team in action.

Consider it the building blocks to a bright future as the Cox Science Center & Aquarium launched the first Youth Robotics Competition in partnership with the First Lego League of South Florida. On Saturday, Sept. 17, students between the ages of 9 and 14 — including a strong contingent from Polo Park Middle School in Wellington — kicked off this year’s hands-on robotics competitions with STEM-centric coaches by their side. The center currently serves as home base for First Lego competitions with the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation as the presenting sponsor and Florida Power & Light as the superpowered season sponsor.

The league is the world’s leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education. Through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs, it has a proven impact on learning, interest and skill-building inside and outside of the classroom. For 30 years, students from all walks of life have developed self-confidence in STEM and valuable, real-world skills through the program.

“It takes just a quick conversation with these young participants to realize they have impressive, long-term goals,” Cox Science Center President & CEO Kate Arrizza said. “These kids are innovative well beyond their years — whether it’s their plan to use robotics to alleviate homelessness or to colonize Mars. We are so excited to be partnering with First Lego to advance kids’ passions and to keep them engaged in STEM-related hobbies.”

Students gain real-world problem-solving experiences through a guided, global robotics program, helping today’s students and teachers build a better future together. The league’s three divisions inspire youth to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics centered around a yearly theme.

The Cox Science Center & Aquarium will support First Lego League teams across the region as they build and program a Lego robot to complete specific missions. The 2022-23 season’s “energy” theme challenges teams to reimagine the future of sustainable energy and power their ideas forward.

“These kids are learning skills for jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. The future of energy — how we generate it and consume it — depends on them,” said Pam Rauch, vice president of external affairs and economic development at FPL. “We look forward to the next generation teaching us new technology and methodologies that will reshape our energy industry entirely.

As a program delivery organization, the Cox Science Center now serves as the backbone for First Lego League teams in South Florida, providing support and training, serving as the communication channel for teams, and leading the regional planning team that builds an exciting season of events, qualifiers and competitions.

The Cox Science Center & Aquarium’s current indoor/outdoor venue features more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000-gallon aquarium, digital planetarium, Pre-K focused Discovery Center, 18-hole conservation-themed mini-golf course and quarter-mile-long outdoor science trail.

The Cox Amphitheater hosts daily live science shows, seasonal laser shows and special event programming. The center took on a new name at the end of 2021 when leadership announced a $20 million gift from Palm Beachers Howard and Wendy Cox to launch a transformative capital campaign.

Join the excitement and form your own team until Oct. 31. To enroll in the program, visit or call (561) 832-1988 for details.