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Nov. 11, 2010

MSU to host fifth annual FIRST LEGO League tournament

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Teams will be vying for points, the crowd will be cheering, and referees will be shouting to be heard above the din this Saturday on the Michigan State University campus. But this time the venue will not be Spartan Stadium. It will be K-12 students participating in a robotics competition in the IM Circle Building at the corner of West Circle Drive and Kalamazoo Street.

MSU is hosting its fifth annual Spartan Challenge FIRST LEGO League – East Lansing Regional Qualifying Tournament from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 13.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multinational, nonprofit organization; the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is the result of a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Group.

“We’re trying to make learning science, technology, engineering and math as much fun for kids as competing in sports,” said Drew Kim, assistant to the dean for recruitment, scholarship and K-12 outreach in the College of Engineering. “It is one of our favorite events and what makes it unique is that all of the judges and volunteers are MSU faculty, staff and engineering students invested in our future engineers and scientists.”

Each year, FLL reveals a challenge that relates to a significant real-world issue. For this year’s challenge – Body Forward – competitors will explore the cutting-edge world of biomedical engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions and maximize the body's potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives.

Students had about 10 weeks to prepare for the competition. Working in teams of up to 10 and guided by at least one adult coach, they built and programmed an autonomous robot capable of completing a pre-designed mission within 2 minutes and 30 seconds; analyzed, researched, and developed a solution for a specific, assigned problem; and created a clever presentation about their solution to perform in front of a panel of judges. 

About 170 students will compete in 17 teams. Spectators are welcome.

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Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.