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January 28, 2010

Middle Schoolers to Compete in FIRST LEGO League State Championship

January 28, 2010

CONTACT:
B. Rose Huber
O: 410-455-8117
C:202-360-5506

brhuber@umbc.edu

BALTIMORE -- Some say it “rivals American Gladiators,” but as a battle of the mind rather than the body. Welcome to the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) State Championship, a game of smarts, where Maryland middle schoolers learn the importance of transportation efficiency and teamwork by building motorized robots from LEGOs on Saturday, Jan. 30, 9 a.m. at UMBC.

The annual robotics competition stresses the importance of education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), helping students collaborate and develop necessary skills at an early age. UMBC professor of mechanical engineering Anne Spence has been leading the competition as part of her research efforts to raise awareness and interest in engineering career opportunities for students from Kindergarten through college.

Sixty-four teams of middle school students will compete to see who can build the best and most efficient robot. Opening ceremonies will be held at UMBC’s Retriever Activities Center and include a sports arena-style entrance by the teams, including mascots, banners, lights, music and a fog machine.

Teams will then construct robots that will be judged on the technical characteristics, performance on a series of tasks and the quality of the team’s workmanship and cooperation.

The event will also include demonstrations of robots developed during The FIRST Robotics Competition for Maryland high school students and the FIRST LEGO League robotics for ages 4-9. (The Junior League will present from 9-11 a.m., with a closing ceremony at 12:30 p.m.)

FIRST is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering.

FLL is an international program for children created in partnership between FIRST and LEGO Company in 1998.

For more information, contact Anne Spence at aspence@umbc.edu, 410-455-3308.

Posted by brhuber at January 28, 2010 10:24 AM