Students compete in FIRST Lego League Challenge in Cape Girardeau

Students from southeast Missouri participated in the FIRST Lego Challenge in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 7:07 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Students from across Southeast Missouri squared off in Cape Girardeau at the FIRST Lego League Challenge.

On Saturday, November 19, students gathered in teams to program and navigate a Lego robot to solve missions as they competed against other teams in a friendly atmosphere.

Students prepare and build their robot using research, problem-solving, coding and engineering.

They said it’s a great program to be in as they build on creativity and teamwork to achieve a common goal.

“If you want to be an engineer, this is a good way to start, when you’re just in grade school,” Jaya Gremmels said. “We also have the innovation project, which teaches you about entrepreneurship. This year’s theme is renewable energy so all of the teams had to make something that applies to that theme.”

“You want to get a job that requires some of those things. This could probably really help you to get there,” Michelle Sisman said. “Since you get to learn a lot about coding, robots and things like that, but also, the other part in planning.”

There are eight teams total in the region with 175 in competition across the state. These students range from fourth grade and on up to eighth grade.

The teams met up before the event to plan out, build and code the robot to prepare for the competition.

“We have certain missions that we have to tell our robot what to do,” Nolan Stoneking said. “Each mission that we complete is some points and the most points at the end moves onto state.”

“They run robot missions on a table that is thematic,” FIRST in Missouri Executive Director Laura Roth said. “We’re talking about energy this year. Our season theme is ‘energize.’ So, the kids are learning about where energy comes from, how it’s transported and stored, and how they use it. Of course, they then do a research project to learn a little bit more about that.”

Roth said this is a great opportunity, overall, for the students to learn another area where they could use what they learned in their future.

“We’re really excited,” Roth said. “Our youth are our future. The more they know, technology is definitely in the pipeline. These kids are digital natives. They grew up with iPads and their parent’s phones and so this is getting them to use it in a productive manner.”

The FIRST Lego League Challenge is a qualifying event where the winners move on to compete at the state level at the Regional Championship in Wentzville, Mo. in January.

For more information about the event, you can find that on their website here.