(ORNL’s Fred Strohl) Six teams from Anderson County and one from Roane County are among the 48 teams of students ages 9 through 14 from East and Middle Tennessee competing in Saturday’s FIRST LEGO League East Tennessee Championship at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.
Teams of eight students demonstrate their problem-solving skills with LEGO Mindstorms robots to solve a set of missions on a table. The defending champion is from Oak Ridge’s Jefferson Middle School and Coach Janey Shananfield says the final preparations are being made.
“Competition is in three parts,” Shananfield said. “You have the core values serving as the guidelines the students and the coaches are supposed to follow. You have the project based on a theme with “Trash Trek” as the theme this year. The students had to figure out a problem related to trash and then come up with an innovative solution. Then there is the robot game as the final piece as students build a robot out of LEGOS using the LEGO Mindstorms platform. They have two minutes and 30 seconds to solve missions on a challenge board.”
The FIRST LEGO competition emphasizes science, math, engineering, technology and more.
“It’s just a great program for all students,” Shanafield added. “It works on their communications skills as well.”
UT-Battelle and Tennessee Tech are co-sponsors.