RCBI Receives Grant to Boost LEGO Robotics across Southern W.Va.
June 8, 2015
HUNTINGTON — LEGO robotics competitions in southern West Virginia are getting a boost from the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) thanks to a grant from the NASA Space Grant Consortium.
The grant will help fund FIRST LEGO League (FLL) regional qualifiers in Huntington, Parkersburg, South Charleston, Lewisburg and Weston, giving at least 60 teams the opportunity to compete for a change to advance to the state tournament in Fairmont.
FIRST LEGO League is a program for 9- to 14-year-olds designed to get youngsters excited about the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math while teaching important life skills. Founded in 1998, FIRST LEGO League has more than 25,000 teams in 80 countries.
RCBI first hosted the Huntington regional qualifier in 2014, with more than a dozen employees participating in the event. FLL is another way RCBI is demonstrating its commitment to promote STEM education, said Charlotte Weber, RCBI’s Director & CEO.
“I encourage others to get involved with FLL,” Weber said. “It’s truly amazing to witness the level of excitement at these friendly competitions as children demonstrate their knowledge of the STEM fields while also learning valuable character-building skills. We’re proud to be a part of such a worthwhile endeavor.”
In addition to the regional qualifiers, RCBI has scheduled several 2015 FLL activities in downtown Huntington.
RCBI will host a FIRST LEGO League Boot Camp July 27-28 to recruit new Southern West Virginia teams to the competition. Five teams will receive free LEGO robots and training in how to use them.
At the FIRST LEGO League Kickoff on Sept. 19, teams will gather at RCBI Huntington to share ideas about preparing for the season. Teams will have the opportunity to attend a regional scrimmage at RCBI on Oct. 17 to learn what to expect at competitions and to practice with their robots.
At the FLL Qualifier on Nov. 7, 12 to 16 teams will compete for a chance to advance to the state tournament in December. Students compete in four areas: Robot Game, Robot Design, Research Project and FLL Core Values.