WSU to Host FIRST LEGO® League Qualifying Competition
WSU is partnering with the National Defense Education Program through Hill Air Force Base to host a Utah FIRST LEGO® League qualifying competition for youth ages 9 to 14. Twenty teams of up to 10 members, plus their coaches and families, are expected at the event, set for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Shepherd Union Building.
FIRST LEGO League competitions are designed to introduce school-age children to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO Mindstorms robots to complete prescribed tasks. Participants design, build, test and program the robots; apply math and science concepts; research challenges; learn critical-thinking, team-building and presentation skills; and compete at tournaments.
This is the first year for WSU to be involved in FIRST LEGO League. The WSU event is one of nine qualifying tournaments in Utah, all in January, with winning teams advancing to the state championship Jan. 28 at the University of Utah. Approximately 1,500 youngsters in 150 teams are expected to compete at the qualifiers this year, up from 60 teams last year. Teams can come from schools, churches, neighborhood or civic groups.
To keep the competition friendly, team members, coaches and parents often wear silly outfits or hats. “The most important thing is fun,” Ingram said. “The mission is to get kids excited about science and technology.”
According to FIRST, its 560 qualifying LEGO League tournaments, 116 championship tournaments and three open championships are expected to have 198,000 participants in 19,800 teams across more than 55 countries in 2011-12. Its tournaments get help from about 54,000 volunteers worldwide, including 500 in Utah.
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