NKU hosts Kentucky FIRST Lego League championship Saturday
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky (WXIX) - Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics hosted the Kentucky FIRST Lego League Championship Saturday, where twenty-four teams of children from across the state competed and engaged in research, problem-solving, coding and engineering.
The robotics tournament’s theme this year is “ENERGIZE,” where teams explored energy sources and ways to improve the way energy is stored and used in our communities.
“It’s a perfect blend of education and fun and competition - these kids are so excited to be a part of a team,” said Beth Koch, Kentucky FIRST Lego League state partner.
Prior to Saturday’s championship, each of the teams of students from grades four through eight had more than 10 weeks to research and build Lego robots to prepare for the tournament.
“FIRST picks a global problem each year for the kids to research; this year, the project was energy so they have studied really hard,” said Jean Bolte, Kentucky FIRST’s Lego League Challenge Coordinator.
“These teams have designed, built and programmed robots to complete missions on the field and they are now running those missions to get as many points as they can so that they can win the round,” Koch explained.
A Lego robot set was already prepared for the groups upon arrival.
“When they register for a team, they also purchase a Lego challenge set, which is identical to the set that they will see when they come to the competition, so they have this in their basements, in their schools - wherever the team meets and they program the robot to complete as many missions,” Bolte said.
In addition to a Lego trophy, participants compete for top awards and the chance to advance to international competitions, such as a trip to Houston to compete in the FIRST Lego World Championship in the spring. Koch says the competition also builds an interest the children can gain for their future.
“What we are doing is building the pipeline of the next STEM employee, the next engineer, scientist, doctors, anyone interested in science and math and art and design,” Koch said.
CINSAM has hosted the championship since 2012 and was awarded a NASA-Kentucky Space Grant and sponsorship from Duke Energy.
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