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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth


Local middle school students will be on a quest for the red planet in the fifth annual First LEGO League Challenge, "Mission Mars," Saturday, Nov. 22 at Old Dominion University.

The Challenge, held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in Webb University Center, gives students the chance to experience a futuristic visit to the red planet and explore the Martian landscape with visions of colonization. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics technology, teams of students will attempt to solve Mars exploration challenges inspired by the very same challenges NASA engineers face today.

Some 17 teams in two divisions � ages 9-11 and 12-14 � will compete at Old Dominion. They join over 4,200 teams from 48 states and 12 countries in competitions nationwide. Teams work on their robotic solutions throughout October and November, and then gather for the local and qualifying events. Those who qualify at Old Dominion will move on to the state competition Dec. 6.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and The LEGO� Company created FIRST LEGO League (FLL) based on their common belief that fun and learning go hand in hand, and that an inspired mind can accomplish anything it sets out to do. Each year, students ages 9-14 form teams to research, design, build and program robots to solve real-world problems using LEGO bricks, motors and gears. They apply engineering, computer programming principles and presentation techniques as they construct, program and research their unique robotic inventions. The challenge process brings the reality of science and technology to children on an intimate, hands-on level. Past challenges have focused on topics such as the use of robotics technology in environmental search and rescue operations, assessing global climate change and issues dealing with urban planning.

For a complete listing of FIRST LEGO League State Tournaments, local qualifiers and programs, visit www.usfirst.org and go to the FIRST Jr. Robotics section.

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