Robots are taking over the campus at Fairmont State University for the weekend, but don’t worry, they’re controlled by students as part of a state-wide competition.
“We’re celebrating learning. We’re celebrating the mind,” said Tournament Director Todd Ensign. “We’re really trying to reward kids for months of hard work.”
Months of hard work lead 48 teams of students to the FIRST LEGO League State Championship. Teams received the challenge in August with all of the requirements for the competition, including tasks their robot must complete.
“They’re delivering three different presentations on what they built, their robot design it’s called, how they work together as a team, what we call that core values, and their solution to a research project,” Ensign said.
At this competition you could even see some critters walking around, fitting into the Animal Allies theme.
“The thematic board has all sorts of Lego animals all over it,” Ensign added. “They have to rescue certain animals and help other ones. With their research topic they had to find an innovative solution to an interaction between a human and an animal.”
“We were looking at bees cause they’ve been getting a sickness called CCD,” said Anthony Mastrangell who is a member of the Robo Rockers. “Most scientists think pesticides have to do with it.”
After the presentations, the robots are put to test on the playing field.
“The first thing we do is called the refrigerator and it just drops a jig on the refrigerator and pulls all the food out,” said Paisley Tabor, a member of the Putnam Pink Ladies. “Then after it does that, we do all kinds of other missions, but one of our favorite missions.”
The FIRST Tech Challenge for middle and high school students with larger robots and the FIRST LEGO League Jr. presentations are also this weekend.
No matter what they participate in, organizers hope this tournament inspires students to study and create a career in the STEM field, science, technology, engineering and math.