University of Rochester

Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Rochester hosts Lego tournament

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is hosting the First Annual Finger Lakes For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego Tournament. Twenty-six teams of 10 youths each will compete to build a Lego robot to complete an obstacle course with ocean-themed obstructions, such as rescuing a fish from a school of Lego sharks, and picking up containers from a "spilled" cargo ship. The event is free and open to the public.

Founded by inventor of the Segway Transportation System, Dean Kamen, FIRST was created to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology.

"The tournament fits well with the type of outreach we have consistently tried to provide to get more students interested in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," says Jack Mottley, associate professor of electrical engineering and tournament director. "This reaches middle school-aged children, where many seem to make the choice as to whether to go on to college, and can reach out to groups often under-represented in engineering programs."

The tournament will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, December 10, at the Palestra of the Goergen Athletic Center. The competition will be judged on five areas: research and presentation, robot performance, technical mechanics of the robot's construction, teamwork, and professionalism. Xerox and Bausch & Lomb are contributing sponsors of the tournament.

FIRST Lego League is an international program held in more than 15 countries. Its core target is youth between the ages of nine and 14 years who are interested in science and technology. For more information, contact Elayne Stewart at x5-3954 or visit the Web site at

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