Students to Compete in FIRST® LEGO® Robotics Championship Tournament


Cheryl Osowski

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Students to Compete in FIRST® LEGO® Robotics Championship Tournament

Thirty-five teams of 9-14-year olds will arrive at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks from across North Dakota and northwest Minnesota on Saturday, Jan. 28, to show off their science, engineering and technology skills at the “ND FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Robotics Championship.”

The competition, which is free and open to the public, is held annually at the UND Memorial Union. The robot competition will begin with the opening ceremony at 9 a.m., and will continue through 1 p.m. Awards will be presented at 2:30 pm.

North Dakota teams for this year’s competition come from Grand Forks, Hillsboro, Halliday, Devils Lake, Fargo, Cando Bismarck, McVille, West Fargo, Northwood, Leeds, Surrey and Grafton. Minnesota teams are from Hallock, Karlstad, Glyndon, Fisher and Moorhead.

Every year, FLL works with experts in the field to create a challenge that relates to a significant real-world issue. The end result is a two-part challenge that requires research to complete “The Project,” as well as science and engineering to master the complex missions of “The Robot Game,” which includes the “Missions and the Rules.”

It’s a fun way to get kids excited in science and technology.

This year’s robotics and research challenge, “Food Factor” will explore the topic of food safety and examine the possible points of contamination that human food encounters – from exposure to insects and other creatures to unsterile processing and transportation to unsanitary preparation and storage – then find ways to prevent or combat these contaminates. In the Food Factor Challenge, teams will build, test and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT to solve a set of food safety missions as well as research, develop and share their innovative food safety solutions. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FLL’s signature set of core values.

The FLL competition is judged in four areas: project presentation, robot performance, technical design and programming of the robot, and FLL Core Values. The highest honor will go to the team that best exemplifies the spirit and values of the program.

Also being demonstrated at this year’s tournament are FIRST® Robotics Championship (FRC) robots, a FIRST® Tech Challenge robot, the junior FLL program and the UND NASA Lunar Robot.

UND and the UND School of Engineering and Mines host the event with the help of many UND student and community volunteers. Corporate sponsors of this year’s event include UND Engineering, UND Memorial Union, Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, HB Sound & Light, Cargill, Xcel Energy, Bobcat Company, Otter Tail Power Company, Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. (AE2S), Minnkota Power Cooperative, Inc., American Crystal Sugar Company, EAPC Architects & Engineers, and S&S Promotional Group Inc.

About FIRST®

FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, FIRST® is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity. FIRST® is supported by a strong network of sponsors and volunteers.

FIRST® provides the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) for students in grades 9-12 (ages 14-18), the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) for grades 4-8 (ages 9 to 14) , and the Junior FIRST® LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for grades K-3 (ages 6 to 9). For more information, visit

About the LEGO® Group

The LEGO Group, a privately-held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high quality, creatively educational play materials for children. The company is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough." For more information, visit

LEGO, MINDSTORMS® and their respective logos are registered trademarks of the LEGO Group.

FIRST® and its logos are registered trademarks of US FIRST.

Cheryl Osowski

Outreach Coordinator, UND School of Engineering and Mines

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