Thirty six teams of children ages 9 to 14 will test robots that they designed and built out of LEGO pieces during the regional championship of the fifth annual Finger Lakes FIRST LEGO League Tournament hosted by the University of Rochester on Sunday, Dec. 6.
For the competition, each team designs a robot out of the classic plastic building blocks that must perform a variety of tasks such as navigating to difficult-to-access places and retrieving objects in a 4-by-8-foot arena speckled with obstacles.
In addition to the robotic portion of the contest, students are asked to give a presentation, which is also part of the judging, on the year's theme: transportation. This year the contestants were asked to pick a real-world transportation challenge, research it, and draw up a poster, skit, or other demonstration dealing with the issues involved.
In order to qualify for the culminating regional contest at the University of Rochester, the 36 teams first had to prove their engineering and communication prowess at one of six preliminary qualifying events at different locations around Western New York, where the field was winnowed down from a pool of more than 100 teams.
The winners at the regional championship, which encompasses schools from Buffalo to Syracuse and as far south as the Pennsylvania border, will travel to Atlanta, Georgia in April for the World Festival, where they will meet teams from more than 50 countries.
For more information, and videos from previous years' tournaments, visit http://www.hajim.rochester.edu/FLL.
What: Finger Lakes FIRST LEGO League Tournament Regional Championship
Where: University of Rochester, Goergen Athletic Center
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 6