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Adults Compete with LEGO Robots to Support STEM Education in Alaska

Posted: May 4, 2011 - 8:33pm  |  Updated: May 4, 2011 - 8:45pm

Tapping the youthful energy of the many adults who support FIRST robotics activities in Juneau, the Juneau Economic Development Council’s STEM education team decided to raise money for the FIRST® LEGO® League student tournaments it coordinates throughout Alaska each school year: FLL Corporate Challenge, an event of friendly competition that reconnects adults with the creative play of childhood through LEGO-based robotics.

The challenge will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Baranof Hotel. Teams from Resource Data, Inc., Alaska Robotics, Boreal Controls, and the State of Alaska will compete using robots they have designed, built and programmed using LEGO MINDSTORMS kits.

In each of three qualifying rounds on a themed playing field, the teams will be given two-and-a-half-minute periods in which to accumulate points by successfully completing as many tasks as they can. The two highest scoring teams meet in a final round to determine the winner.

The Corporate Challenge supports student FLL activities in two ways. The robot kits purchased by the teams for the Challenge each cost over $400. All kits are donated back to SpringBoard following the tournament for use in starting new student teams next school year.

Giving adults a chance to participate in their own competition also helps to gain enthusiastic, committed volunteers who help with the student programs.

FIRST robotics activities in Alaska are sponsored by BP, with additional funding from the National Defense Education Program and the US Department of Defense through JEDC’s SpringBoard program.

For more information about FIRST LEGO League programs, contact JEDC’s Rebecca Parks at 523-2334 or rparks@jedc.org.

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