FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — The West Virginia Robotics Alliance hosted the FIRST® LEGO® League State Championship starting as early as 7 a.m. on March 19.
About 50 teams of 9 to 14-year-olds from across the state gathered at Fairmont State University to compete in gymnasium one and two. All teams were judged on three different things, including research projects, teamwork projects and their robots on the field.
Earl Scime, head referee for the state championship, told 12 News that these teams have been building robots since August to complete certain missions. Since then, they have been programming, building, tweaking and going to preliminary competitions.
What makes this competition different is not only the LEGOs, but they do the competition on a 4-by-8 plywood table, and it is for middle school ages.
Practice rounds ran from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., giving the students, referees and judges time for lunch after. Around 1:30 p.m., the teams began going head-to-head, tournament style. Scores were announced around 5 p.m., with the top score of each of the three rounds determining who wins. You can find scores and final placements at this website, as it is updated.
Learning how to work in robotics can be important for the innovation in these student’s future careers. Scime said, “the idea that kids can work with technology and then have a fun experience with it, and also learn a lot, both in programming. A lot of my high school robotic students started off in first LEGO league, so about half of my students came through it this way. That’s really important for kids in West Virginia to have that – that access those programs and have that experience.”
If anyone is interested in developing a FIRST® LEGO® League team, they should reach out to the West Virginia Robotics Alliance to do so. They will even train coaches just so they can create a team for students who would like to get into robotics.