LEGO robotics competitions receive support from RCBI, NASA

LEGO robotics competitions in southern West Virginia are getting a boost from the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) thanks to a grant from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

The grant will help fund FIRST LEGO League (FLL) regional qualifiers in Huntington, Parkersburg, South Charleston, Lewisburg and Weston, giving at least 60 teams the opportunity to compete for a change to advance to the state tournament in Fairmont.

FIRST LEGO League is a program for 9- to 14-year-olds designed to get students excited about the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math while teaching important life skills. Founded in 1998, FIRST LEGO League has more than 25,000 teams in 80 countries.

In addition to the regional qualifiers, RCBI has scheduled several 2015 FLL activities in downtown Huntington.

RCBI will host a FIRST LEGO League Boot Camp July 27-28 to recruit new Southern West Virginia teams to the competition. Five teams will receive free LEGO robots and training in how to use them.

At the FIRST LEGO League Kickoff on Sept. 19, teams will gather at RCBI Huntington to share ideas about preparing for the season. At the FLL Qualifier on Nov. 7, 12 to 16 teams will compete for a chance to advance to the state tournament in December.