Anyone who has ever watched a local robotics competition will agree: once you find yourself cheering for that little contraption on wheels to win, you know you’re hooked.
It’s that same addictive fascination that draws students from all over Maui Nui to eagerly compete in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Hawaii Robotics Tournament every year. This November 12th will be the second Maui district tournament with 18 teams from Maui, Molokai and Lanai. These 9-14 year olds will be maneuvering their robots through various tasks at the Maui High School Cafeteria. Six state berths will be at stake. Last weekend’s district tournament at Pomaika`i Elementary resulted in two Moloka`i teams qualifying for the State FLL Tournament held on December 3, 2011 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.
Each year, teams are challenged to design, build and program an autonomous robot out of LEGO elements to solve a real world issue. The theme for 2011 is food contamination.
The Food Factor Challenge gives teams the opportunity to explore the topic of food safety and examine the possible points of contamination that our food encounters – from exposure to insects and creatures, to unsafe processing and transportation, to unsanitary preparation and storage – then find ways to prevent or combat these contaminates.
Teams are expected to build, test, and program their robot to solve a set of Food Safety missions as well as research, develop, and share their innovative food safety solutions.
The public is encouraged to come down and watch this exciting event on Saturday, November 12th, from noon to 3 pm at Maui High School Cafeteria. Presentations (restricted to participants only) will be held earlier in the day, from 8 am to 12 pm.
FIRST LEGO League is an international organization that introduces students to the fun and experience of solving real-world problems by applying math, science and technology (STEM).
In Hawaii, FLL is supported by the Women in Technology (WIT) Project, an initiative of the Maui Economic Development Board. WIT’s goal is to motivate students toward STEM careers by capturing and sustaining their interest in STEM education at an early age.