Weekend brings FLL tourney to The Dalles Middle School stage

CONTESTANTS REACH a tense moment in playing field competition in the First Lego League tournament of 2012. Contributed photo

Families and robot lovers of all ages are invited to watch the fun at the Columbia Gorge First Lego League (FLL) tournaments starting this weekend.

These free events will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, at The Dalles Middle School, 1100 E. 12th St., and Sunday, Dec. 15 at Wy’east Middle School, 3000 Wy’east Road near Odell.

These tournaments are local qualifiers for the international FLL robotics competition for kids ages 9 to 14. Winners will travel to the state tournaments in Hillsboro in January.

These events are held locally by the Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA) with sponsorship support from Google.

“This is our fourth year of these tournaments and we’re excited to have the most kids participating yet, with 55 teams from all across the region,” said GTA Executive Director Jessica Metta, who acts as the Tournament Director for the three events. Teams will be traveling from Dallesport, Goldendale, Grass Valley, Hood River, Klickitat, Lyle, Mosier, Parkdale, Skamania, The Dalles and Trout Lake.

In FLL competitions, teams use off-the-shelf Lego robotics kits to construct working robots, which compete on a 4-foot by 8-foot playing field.

Each year, FLL defines a challenge that drives team activities. In this fall’s challenge, Nature’s Fury: Prepare. Be Safe. Rebuild., teams researched natural disasters and created innovative solutions to solve problems caused by natural disasters that hadn’t already been solved.

Each team participates in several rounds of judging including robot design and programming, teamwork, completion of the natural disaster research and, of course, performance on the playing field.

For more information, contact Metta at 541-296-2266 or jessica@crgta.org.

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