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First Lego League regional challenge to be held at Clarke

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 4:43 p.m. CST

Creativity and science will come together 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, for the First® Lego® League (FLL®) regional challenge at Clarke Community High School where 18 teams of nine- to 14 year-old youths and coaches will demonstrate their problem-solving skills, creative thinking, teamwork, competitive play, sportsmanship and sense of community.

This year’s “Nature’s Furyism” Challenge calls for teams to research and present their own creative solutions to one of today’s most relevant topics: natural disasters. Teams will discover what can be done when intense natural events meet the places people live, work and play.

With missions such as positioning an evacuation sign, clearing an airplane’s runway from debris and delivering supplies, teams will have to program their Lego Mindstorms® robots to solve a set of missions on an obstacle course set on a thematic-playing surface.

For the challenge, FLL collaborated with organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Red Cross, National Weather Service and other specialists to create a theme and challenge missions that reflect real-world issues.

The FLL competition is judged in four areas: project presentation; robot performance; technical design and programming of the robot; and teamwork, with a consideration of the FLL core values. The highest honor will go to the team that best exemplifies the spirit and values of the program.

FLL is an international program created in a partnership between First and the Lego Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology – and teach them valuable career and life skills.

Using Lego Mindstorms® technologies and Lego education materials, children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program autonomous robots and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project.

After eight intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Like any other organized “sport,” teams also fundraise, create a team identity, and go on field trips.

This regional tournament is being hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and events are sponsored by Iowa State University College of Engineering, Rockwell Collins and John Deere.

Clarke’s robotic team will be participating. This is a free event to spectators and open to everyone.

In order for this type of event to run smoothly, it takes numerous volunteers from the community to make it possible. If you are interested in volunteering for this event or would like to know more information, contact Clarke County Extension Office at 641-342-3316.

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