First LEGO League kicks off regionals

gional Tournament will take place tomorrow at Minot State University from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Teams from around the area will compete in categories to move on to the state competition.

The FLL is an international LEGO robotics competition. It is a competition where teams research a real-world problem to develop a solution while designing, building and programming a robot using LEGO Mindstorms technology.

Educational and fun, the competitions work to help kids apply the STEM concepts and imagination to solve a set problem. The problem for this year’s competitions is to find a solution to a physical or social problem faced by astronauts during a long duration space exploration.

The Minot regional tournaments will be for teams in the 9 to 14 age group. There will be 19 teams in total, a higher number that last year’s first FLL Robotics Regional Tournament held in Minot. Teams come from all around the area, from Minot, Bottineau, Williston, Surrey and Devils Lake.

“With growing a league last year in Minot and having 11 teams who wanted to compete, we felt it was important to host a tournament so that the teams do not have to reveal to compete,” said Allison Auch, Executive Director of Full STEAM Ahead.

The tournament is open to the public to attend, getting the chance to watch the teams compete in an array of categories throughout the day and learn about robots.

The morning session will consist of teams showcasing their robot designs, their project and core values to a set of judges. For robot design, teams will be questioned on how they built the robot and what they factored in when programming it.

Project presentation is where teams will present their solution to the chosen problem and core values will show a team working together to solve a challenge or puzzle, being scored on their ability to work together, communicate and have fun.

“In the afternoon, the children will have a chance to compete with their actual robots that they have built,” said Auch. “They have three chances to complete as many missions as they can on a mission board.”

The public is invited to come and watch for as long as they please. Auch said that the tournament is a great way to see exactly what the league is all about, especially if you have a child who may be interested in robotics and joining.

“The tournament is fun and a great energy to be around. You can come just for an hour in the afternoon to watch the robots run or you can spend all day and follow the teams,” Auch said.

Full STEAM Ahead offers robotic camps throughout the year for children who want to attend. There are both one day camps and weeklong camps, allowing people to attend what they can.

“These are a great chance for the children who are too busy to commit to an entire season but have an interest in robotics,” said Auch.

Registration for classes or to join a team for the 2019/20 season will open in the summer. You can find more information at Full STEAM Ahead’s Facebook page or at their website: steamnd.org. They offer a variety of classes in a variety of different fields for children of all ages including their robotics camps.

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