Norwich University hosts second annual FIRST LEGO League competition

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University will host the state’s second annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) regional qualifying tournament on Sunday, Nov. 16, beginning at 9 a.m. in Plumley Armory.

Groups of 9-14 year olds around the country have been tasked with researching a real-world scientific issue and designing and building an original robot in the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL), an event designed to inspire children in science and technology through the use of robotics.

Using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies, teams of tech-savvy kids will showcase the results of weeks of intense preparation as they deploy their robots to complete thematic challenges in autonomous robot matches. Teams connect with their local and global communities by using critical thinking, creativity, and math/science/engineering concepts to create and present innovative solutions to real-world challenges.

Each year the challenges are based on a theme. This year’s theme, “World Class – Learning Unleashed,” challenges teams to invent new and better ways of helping people learn.

With 24 teams of up to 10 students each, along with coaches and parents, there will be much to see throughout the day, and spectators are encouraged to attend. In the afternoon, there will be presentations by the NAO Robotics Club, the CNC Machining and 3D printing lab, and the structures and materials testing lab. Also, the Sullivan Museum and History Center, the state’s only Smithsonian Affiliate, will be open to the public.

The opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the robot matches, take place at Plumley Armory. At other locations across campus, teams will give presentations on how they came up with their technological solutions and complete challenges to demonstrate their ability to work as a team—an important component of the competition.

According to its website: “[The FLL Core Values] are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FLL from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.”

After teams check-in, Lars Hasselblad Torres will give opening remarks at 9:00 a.m. Formerly the director of Vermont’s Office of the Creative Economy, Torres left the post recently to take over as the executive director of Burlington’s makerspace: Generator. As someone who knows a lot about innovation and creativity, Torres will help the students kick off the big day.

Robot matches begin at 9:40 a.m., with judging occurring throughout the day. The day will conclude with an awards ceremony around 3:45 p.m.