Rensselaer and Hudson Valley FLL To Host FIRST LEGO League Robotics Tournament

Photo from last year's competition.

December 11, 2018

Rensselaer and Hudson Valley FLL To Host FIRST LEGO League Robotics Tournament

Area middle school teams will tackle challenges for humans in space

What does it take to live on a space station or travel to another planet?

That’s what 12 elementary and middle school afterschool LEGO Robotics teams from the Capital Region have been working together to figure out. They’ll take part in the annual Hudson Valley FIRST LEGO League Regional Qualifying Tournament at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday, Dec. 15.

For the 2018-2019 Into Orbit Challenge, the teams were asked to think about the challenges humans must overcome to travel in our solar system for long periods of time. Those challenges include extreme temperatures; lack of air, water, and food; waste disposal or recycling; loneliness and isolation; and the need for exercise in order to stay healthy.

The global FIRST LEGO League competition is being brought to the region for the 11th time through a partnership between Rensselaer, Hudson Valley FLL, and NY Tech Valley FIRST sponsors. The event is open to the public. The program kicks off with the opening ceremonies on the Rensselaer campus at 9:25 a.m. in the Darrin Communications Center (DCC), room 308. Immediately following, the robotics competition begins and culminates with a closing ceremony and awards presentation beginning at 2:45 p.m.

FLL is the middle school component of the FIRST Robotics Competition, an international contest that teams professionals and young people to solve an engineering design problem in a competitive way. Over an eight-week period, teams work to build, test, and program an autonomous robot using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® set to solve missions on an obstacle course.

“Each team aims to discover and present innovative solutions to long-duration space travel to three different panels of judges, while also testing their programing and building skills at the robot competition table. This is a high-energy STEM event that brings the best out of students by demanding they do all the work with only the guidance of a coach,” said Jordan Vener, who serves as program manager for interactive technologies in the Rensselaer Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education (CIPCE), which works with area teachers and students to promote the use of robotics in the classroom.

The tournament is supported by 60 volunteers, including Rensselaer students, faculty, and staff, along with area students from high school robotics teams. The teams of judges and referees are comprised of students from Rensselaer’s Science Ambassadors and Engineering Ambassadors organizations, along with longtime friends of CIPCE and FIRST.

FLL is a partnership between the LEGO Group and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), which was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to motivate young people to pursue careers in science, technology, and engineering.


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