Lassonde hosts LEGO League to promote innovation in youth.

Lassonde Institute hosts state LEGO robotics championship

After competing with 276 teams at 14 qualifiers, 48 teams from Utah middle schools will advance to the fourth annual Utah FIRST LEGO League State Championship at the University of Utah on Saturday, Jan. 25. Teams hope to win this year’s state title. Teams will be competing with their LEGO robots and presenting innovation projects after months of preparation. The event is open to the public.

“The LEGO state championship draws many students with various backgrounds from all over the state,” says Kathy Hajeb, the Utah operational partner for FIRST LEGO League and a director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah. “The students gain invaluable skills, such as teamwork, professionalism and the ability to solve open-ended problems. Teams also practice FIRST LEGO League’s ‘Core Values,’ such as gracious professionalism and cooperation.”

At the championship, like the qualifiers, teams take turns running their LEGO robots through a variety of challenges. Hit with various roadblocks and objectives, teams work together to navigate through the playing fields. However, the robots are only a portion of the tournament. Utah FIRST LEGO League also awards teams for robot design, innovation project presentation, and “Core Values.”

“We’ve seen for many years that students who participate in FIRST LEGO League are more confident, curious and eager to tackle real-world problems,” Hajeb says.

Utah’s FIRST LEGO League program is headquartered in the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah. The university organizes the program to promote creativity and an interest in technology, innovation, science and engineering among Utah children.

Sponsors for the 2013 season include: Boart Longyear, Natural History Museum of Utah, Merit Medical, Utah Education Network, Williams, IM Flash Technologies, The Community Foundation of Utah, Utah Educational Savings Plan, Gary and Nancy Schmitt, Steve Borst and the Lund Foundation.

Learn more at www.utfll.utah.edu.

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