CSU Forum to Reveal Plan for LEGO Robotics League

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Columbus State University’s Center for Quality Teaching and Learning will host a forum from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2 at the Cunningham Center to reveal a new, competitive LEGO robotics league for ages 9-14 as part of an international robotics program.

The “First Invitational LEGO Robotics Forum,” in Blanchard Hall, Ballroom C, is free and targets parents, teachers, and business and community leaders with information on how they can support the initiative, named the Chattahoochee Valley FIRST LEGO League (FLL).

The new league will engage its participants in designing, programming and building a robot, and preparing an in-depth research presentation related to a particular theme. The robots are built from LEGO Mindstorm robotics kits, which include LEGO bricks, motors, sensors, software and gears.

The program will be coordinated by the Center for Quality Teaching and Learning. The FIRST LEGO League International is a 10-year-old organization with about 90,000 participants worldwide.

TSYS Senior Enterprise Architect Frank Braski will conduct the upcoming forum at CSU, along with a group of LEGO robotics enthusiasts. These individuals include local instructional technology professionals and CSU computer science professors, including TSYS Department of Computer Science Chair Wayne Summers.

Summers said CSU, through his department and the CQTL, has established a foundation for the initiative over the past couple of years through LEGO robotics workshops for local teachers and summer camps for kids.

Competitions are staged with a sporting event-like atmosphere, as teams of up to 10 participants demonstrate their robots and answer judges’ questions about their projects’ technical design and how they worked as a team. Scoring is based on robot performance, the design and programming of the robot, the overall project and teamwork.

The FLL International season begins in September, when its organizers announce a new “challenge theme” based on a real-world issue.

The newly formed local teams, each guided by a coach, will develop their projects this fall and compete with one another in January to qualify for the Georgia FLL Championship one month later on the Georgia Tech campus.

The preliminary tournaments in Georgia and worldwide culminate in an international finals event each year in April at the Georgia Dome as part of the FLL World Festival.

CQTL Director Roger Hatcher said the competition ignites an enthusiasm for science and technology at a student’s crucial stage of development. “This activity will, hopefully, lead many students to consider careers in science and mathematics.”

As part of CSU’s College of Education, the CQTL promotes and facilitates regional initiatives for pre-k-12 educators to advance the study and practice of quality teaching and learning.