Science & Technology

UGA to host FIRST LEGO League state championship Saturday

Chi Thai holds the first and second place trophies for the 2016 FIRST LEGO League state championship hosted by the University of Georgia College of Engineering.

Athens, Ga. – Thirty-two elementary and middle school robotics teams from Georgia will compete in the annual FIRST LEGO League State Tournament this Saturday at the University of Georgia. Hosted by the UGA College of Engineering, this year’s event will challenge teams to solve a real-world trash problem.

During the competition at the Miller Learning Center, teams will build, test and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology. Throughout the day teams will present their research and innovative solutions to judges. The participants must also demonstrate how they work effectively as a team.

“FIRST LEGO League not only introduces younger students to robotics and engineering, it also challenges them to apply critical-thinking skills to open-ended problems,” said Chi Thai, an associate professor in the UGA College of Engineering who is serving as the event coordinator for the tournament.

This year’s state FLL competition was divided into two separate events because of the number of teams involved. Georgia Tech hosted 32 teams last Saturday with another 32 teams prepared to compete in Athens this weekend. Winners at the state level will move forward in the national competition, eventually having the opportunity to compete in international competitions.

FLL is a partnership between the LEGO Group and FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology—an organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to motivate young people to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering.

Each August, FLL announces its annual challenge topic, which engages teams in hands-on robotics design and authentic scientific research. After eight intense weeks, the FLL season culminates at high-energy, sports-like events like the Georgia FIRST LEGO League State Tournament.

To learn more about the tournament, visit