VERSAILLES — Midmark is sponsoring the fifth Versailles FIRST LEGO League Regional Qualifier on Nov. 23.
“In just five years, we’ve seen just a few local teams grow to almost all 24 teams and still growing,” said Christie Rindler, tournament director. “The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a kid, it takes an army to hold a tournament. As it continues to grow, we are always looking for more volunteers to help with the Versailles tournament. We feed our volunteers well!”
There are volunteer roles for everyone.
“You don’t need experience and not all roles need training, ex: registration, judging escorts, pit runners, just to name a few,” Rindler said. “Judges are always needed and do not need to be engineers. If you would like more information, contact me at 937-564-1532 or Versailles. firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can check out firstinspires.org.”
According to her, last year FIRST LEGO League had 35,140 teams representing 103 countries. Ohio had 500+ teams.
“I can help you find a team/event close to you,” she said.
In this era of video games and smart phones, it is easy to see our children getting lost in a solitary zone,” Rindler remarked. “FIRST LEGO League teams can have a huge impact on our youth by giving children access to a program where they can learn teamwork along with communication skills. Teammates can also make friends by meeting like-minded students from different cities, states, even countries.”
FIRST LEGO League is part of the non-profit organization, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
Founded in 1989 and based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields. The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
FIRST engages students in kindergarten through high school in four exciting, mentor-based, research and robotics programs:
• FIRST LEGO League Jr. introduces STEM concepts to kids ages 6-10
• FIRST LEGO League is built around theme-based challenges to engage children ages 9 to 16 in research, problem-solving, coding, and engineering. Teams limited to 10 students.
• FIRST Tech Challenge, grades 7-12, are challenged to head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.
•FIRST Robotics Competition, high school age students, are challenged to hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. FRC has also been referred to “Sports for the mind”. (Over $80 million in scholarships)
“As a parent alumnus of a high school FRC student, I watched the members of that team grow and accomplish amazing things each year by brain storming, designing, building, and programming 130# robots to do amazing things,” Rindler said. “And this was in a six-week build season. However, we drove my son almost an hour each way to attend the club meetings, making me dream there were teams closer.”
She concluded, “To see FIRST introduced to the Versailles area was only a dream in the beginning. However, after a few years of discussions, it was decided to bring FIRST to Versailles by holding a FIRST LEGO Regional tournament.”
On tournament day the morning starts with each team judged in three areas:
• Project: where teams have researched a real-world issue and create an original solution
• Core Values: where the team is judged on how well they work together as a team
• Robot Design: where engineers go over the robot design and the processes the team used in building it.
The afternoon competition moves to the Robot Game. Teams are required to build and program an autonomous (no remote control) LEGO robot that can perform theme-based “mission” task on a table-top playing field. The missions require the robot to navigate, capture, transport, or deliver objects. Against a 2.5-minute timing the more missions completed, the more points teams earn. The best score of three games is used along with the morning judge rankings to determine awards.