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Kids snap Legos

November 15, 2015
Estherville News Staff , Estherville News

Saturday, Iowa Lakes Community College was full of noise, enthusiasm, anticipation and learning as they hosted 10 teams comprised of area kids ages 9-14 for the fourth year in a row. This tournament was a regional qualifying competition for the international First Lego League. Each year, First releases a new challenge that engages the teams in hands-on-robotics and scientific research. Keep in mind these are children as young as nine years old. This year, the teams explored the fascinating world of trash with the "Trash Trek" challenge. The teams of young people built and programmed a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot to complete missions and conducted research on trash through collection, sorting, smart production, and reuse.

The Robot Challenges are based on topics such as natural disasters, quality of life for seniors, nanotechnology, climate, quality of life, transportation, and quality of life for people with disabilities.

The teams range from 2-10 members and can form from home school groups, schools, scout troops, religious organizations or even just groups of friends. They receive the challenge then have about three months to design, program and build their robot, and prepare an in-depth research presentation related to the theme.

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Then they came together of the one-day, high-energy tournaments that were not unlike a sporting competition.

Regional qualifiers may advance to January's championship event at Iowa State University. The winners of the prestigious Champion's Award may be eligible to participate in a variety of post-season tournament opportunities, both domestic and abroad.

Picture this: teams of up to 10 children, with one adult coach, program a robot that moves and operates autonomously and score points on the Robot Game playing field by developing a solution to a problem they identified, and of which they designed the robot to solve.

This not only is a valuable activity for the future of the children and young teens involved, as they may be led into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career, but it benefits us all as the future generation gains experience in using science and technology to make life better for others.



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