11 - 22
COLUMBUS, Ga. — Nearly 250 children and pre-teens will compete for top prizes at a regional Lego robotics tournament starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 in Columbus State University’s Davidson Student Center and Schuster Center for Student Success.
This is the fifth time CSU has hosted the regionals, and officials expect 246 participants in 27 teams from as far south as Thomasville and as far north as Newnan. That surpasses the record 23 teams that competed last year.
The competition is free and open to the public.
“Each year, it gets a little bit bigger,” said Wayne Summers, professor and chair of Columbus State’s TSYS School of Computer Science. “We think this is going to be a great year.”
Participants in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) event are ages 9-14 in grades 4-8. There also will be a junior FIRST Lego League for grades K-3 that will not require registration. Participants can just show up.
FLL aims to introduce young people to the fun and excitement of science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. While the program involves Lego robotics, FLL goes beyond robotics, with teams examining real-life problems and developing solutions.
One highlight of the event is the robot competition. Each team will build a robot that must navigate an obstacle course in two minutes and 30 seconds.
This year’s theme, “Nature’s Fury,” is tied to the research component of the competition. Each team of up to 10 members will talk about a type of disaster and research they did related to that.
“The kids will do a presentation on that disaster,” Summers said. “Then they will propose a solution to overcoming it or ways to minimize the effects of the disaster.”
Columbus State will also host on Jan. 11 the FLL Super Regional, which is the next level of competition.
# # #
Photo: Jason Cornwell, right, then a student in CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science, advises a Coweta County team in the 2012 regional FIRST Lego League event at Columbus State. Cornwell, who earned both a B.S. and M.S. in computer science, was a member of CSU’s chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, whiich helps host the regional FLL events.