First Lego League seeks Beaufort County teamsPublished 8:45pm Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Lego robots have invaded eastern North Carolina and are knocking at Beaufort County’s door.
The Greenville area hosted its first Lego Robotics tournament Nov. 2. Eleven teams, with members ranging in ages from 9 to 14, traveled to Winterville from nearby counties to take part in the regional event. The league is looking for some representation from its neighbors to the east.
The Randall family got involved with Pitt County’s teams several years ago, with parents mentoring and coaching while sons participated.
“We’re just really trying to see a team start up in Beaufort County,” said Addie Randall.
She said her sons would be willing to give demonstrations and help Beaufort County teams learn how the whole thing works.
First Lego League is a learning program that now involves more than 230,000 children worldwide.
“Teams of up to 10 students use small robots built from a Lego-based kit to complete challenges on a table-top field,” Randall said.
She said the program gets children involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at an early age.
“FLL was designed to get children excited about science and technology, as well as teach them valuable employment and life skills along the way,” Randall added.
Another part of the program is exposure to local companies that use STEM subjects. The teams take tours of facilities and seek mentorships. The first tournament was sponsored by PotashCorp-Aurora.
“Having industry involved in this process is absolutely essential,” Randall said.
In addition to the six Pitt County teams that joined in regional competition, four teams have sprouted in that county, all training to take part in future competitions.
The FLL program would like to see teams form in Beaufort County.
“Funding is available to help purchase the Lego robotic kits, and a local team will come provide a demonstration of the robots at your location,” Randall said.
The new teams would need coaches. Randall said extensive knowledge in STEM subjects and robotics is not a requirement to become a coach. She suggested anyone with an interest in the experience and willing to dedicate his or her time for twice-weekly practices would be an asset.
On Dec. 7, a “practice tournament” will be held in Greenville for any local FLL teams, including those advancing to the state competition.
“This event will also provide a great opportunity for anyone wanting to stop by and learn more,” Randall said.
For information about starting a team or getting involved in the FLL program, call 252-721-8822 or visit www.firstlegoleague.org and