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Mountaineer Area Robotics Hosts First LEGO League Competition

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MORGANTOWN -

Kids from all over North Central West Virginia are building a knowledge for robotics.

Mountaineer Area Robotics hosted the LEGO competition Saturday for kids ages 9-14. Kari DeMicco is a senior high school student and MARS team member.

"They come in the morning and they have practice matches and they have their judging," said DeMicco. "With the Lego robotics program they have a robot aspect that's where they're down on the tables and do sears solutions that's senior solution. They have to program and build a robot that can solve senior oriented problems or activities."

The MARS team keeps the teams on track and helps judge. Earl Scime is the chair of the Physics Department at WVU and the Co-Founder of the MARS team.

"It's judged in a number of different areas they obviously build a robot and it competes on a playing field. But they're also judged on teamwork, a research presentation where they've gone out and done really quite solid research and they're also judged on the technical knowledge they have on their robot," Scime said.

Each team has two and a half minutes to complete a series of goals that are oriented around helping senior citizens. One as simple as flipping a switch and the next, making a Skype call between two computers.

If you want to start a team it's simple. Experience is not necessary, you just need four or five friends who share the same passion for robots.

"There are schools teams but mostly it's run out of the community. Like I said, the robotics team mentors almost all of these teams," DeMicco said.

Scime said the scrimmage on Saturday helped kids get ready for what they'll face in the State Championships in December.

"They're both being creative and they're developing critical thinking skills and programming skills and technical skills. That's very different than a lot of the learning they get in school. They're doing this learning on their own because it's something that's exciting and a sense of competition that really makes them get engaged and they want to battle for that last ten points on the field. They're gonna go home tonight and reprogram and change things," Scime said.

The LEGO teams will be fixing up their robots for States on December 8th at Fairmont State University.