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First LEGO League Building Success

January 17, 2014, 6:13 PM by Sammi Bjelland

First LEGO League Building Success

Most people remember LEGO's from their childhood, but kids now-a-days are taking LEGO building to the next level.

The First LEGO League is a competitive program for kids to design, build and program their own robots made of LEGOs.

In recent years, the program has exploded in South Dakota.

LEGO's have been a childhood favorite for decades, and the arrival of the LEGO Movie next month is already getting these LEGO lovers excited.

"I really like the fact with LEGOs, it's just that you can build what you want. Like you can buy a set that's supposed to be a dinosaur, but you can make like a mechanical walker or something out of it," Aidan Sanchez said. 

The First LEGO League is sponsored by the South Dakota Robotics Association, and offers kids a chance to get creative with the traditional building blocks.

"I really like how you get to come up with new ideas for the project. I've always like the whole engineering and inventing concept," John Brule said. 

Team YODA is made up of mostly home-schooled kids, but the League is open to everyone. 

When the First LEGO League came to South Dakota 6 years ago, there were only 4 teams. This year there were 84 teams at the qualifying competition for State.

The kids in the First LEGO League range in age from 9 to 14 years-old. But even with the age gap, they still get work done.

"It's nice to see them learn the different things they need to. The programming, how do you build the robot, how do you put things together with the project and the research. And getting along with the other team mates," mother of John, Cathy Brule said. 

"Using different design strategies to kind of attack a problem. As the coach was saying, no idea is a bad idea. Often crazy ideas will become your main idea," Sanchez said. 

Each year the groups are given a topic to research and design for. This helps the kids learn more about a subject challenge, and think outside the box to find solutions.

"As far as the project goes I think we're pretty good. But the robot and the programming, I think we can improve. But we're definitely going to be working hard on that," Brule said.

The First LEGO League competition will be held Saturday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Elmen Center on the Augustana campus.

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