FIRST LEGO League Returns

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JEFFERSON CITY - The FIRST LEGO League came to the state Capitol Thursday with 14 teams to compete in a FIRST Robotics Capitol Invitational. This is the second consecutive year that teams from around Missouri put together robots that performed at the state Capitol. During the invitational, robots have to perform 12 different missions in two and a half minutes. Two teams compete against each other at the same time. The robots have to push, pull and pick up objects successfully to win each mission.

Before coming to the invitation, the teams program their robots to perform competition tasks. The missions are set up on a rectangular table with LEGO objects placed in the middle. The robots and everything on the table are made out of LEGOS.

Two people from each team are in control of the robot. These members are in charge of changing certain parts on the robots before sending them off to do each mission. There are two referees that judge and score each robot. They are also there to make sure each player follows the rules.

The FIRST Robotics is a nation wide program that promotes the need to put more emphasis on mathematics, science and engineering. There are four different leagues that are made based on ages. When the teams enter to be apart of FIRST Robotics, they are given a theme and a challenge that changes every year. This years theme was biomedical engineering and the challenge was to create a robot that would hypothetically help doctors perform certain tasks.

Each team can have up to 10 people. Along with those 10 people there is a teacher and/or a mentor hat helps with the robot. Each group receives a kit with the main supplies they need to build the robot. The kits cost about $600, and the groups find different ways to raise money. One group, The Gear Girls, sold Girl Scout Cookies to raise funds.

There are seven similar events like the one that took placed Thursday that happen before the Championship. The Championship will be held April 27-30 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.