FSU to Host FIRST LEGO League Robotic Tournament

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Fairmont State University College of Science and Technology will host the West Virginia FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) tournament on Saturday, Dec. 8.

An international robotics program in partnership with LEGO®, the FLL is part of the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) organization, an international nonprofit agency with the mission of inspiring the future workforce to appreciate the excitement and personal rewards of a career in science and technology.

More than 50 teams of middle school students from across the state, as well as coaches and parents, will attend the event at FSU’s main campus in Fairmont for the largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition in West Virginia. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend. The event will take place on the shared main campus of Fairmont State and Pierpont Community & Technical College beginning at 8 a.m. with registration in the lobby of the Falcon Center and ending with an awards ceremony at about 4:30 p.m. in Gym 1 of the Falcon Center. The first annual Junior FLL event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m.

Registered teams are from the following cities: Arthurdale, Bridgeport, Bruceton Mills, Buckhannon, Charleston, Clarksburg, Elkview, Fairmont, Grafton, Greenbank, Huntington, Keyser, Martinsburg, Mineral Wells, Morgantown, Moundsville, Parkersburg, Paw Paw, Sistersville, Stollings, Vienna and West Union.

“FIRST Lego League provides an unique opportunity for young people to have fun while learning. It inspires those involved and lets them experience teamwork in accomplishing a technological objective. We want children to experience science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from a hands-on perspective, and hopefully create a new cadre of future engineers and scientists,” said Dr. Anthony F. Gilberti, Dean of the College of Science and Technology at FSU.

Students will assemble robots with LEGO® technology and will use them to compete to accomplish tasks involved in a real-world scenario.

“The event challenges students in four areas: robot design, research, team work and the table competition. During the table competition, students will run their robots on a field full of obstacles and challenges for points,” said Todd Ensign, Program Manager for the NASA IV&V Educator Resource Center and director of the event.

Teams can win prizes in all four areas, and one team will be promoted to compete in the international FLL tournament to be held in St. Louis in the spring of 2013.

Using LEGO® bricks and other elements such as sensors, motors and gears, teams gain hands-on experience in engineering and computer programming principles as they construct and program their unique robots. Students learn how to brainstorm for ideas, manage time, and how to use science to solve real-world problems.

For more information, contact Todd Ensign at todd.ensign@ivv.nasa.gov or Michelle Poland at mpoland2@fairmontstate.edu.