Media Contact: Fred Strohl
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

63 teams entered in Dec. 7 FIRST LEGO event


The Lab R.A.T.S. of Farragut Middle School are one of 63 teams competing Dec. 7 in the FIRST LEGO League East Tennessee Championship.The Lab R.A.T.S. of Farragut Middle School are one of 63 teams competing Dec. 7 in the FIRST LEGO League East Tennessee Championship. (hi-res image)

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 5, 2013 -- Sixty-three teams composed of children ages nine to 14 from East and Middle Tennessee will demonstrate their problem-solving skills, creative thinking and teamwork using LEGO Mindstorm robots Saturday, Dec. 7 during the FIRST LEGO League East Tennessee Championship at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.

“This year’s theme is titled ‘Nature’s Fury,’” said tournament co-director Brad Weil, a research staff member in the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Teams discover what things to do when natural disasters occur. They learn things to prepare to stay safe and rebuild. We expect a crowd of at least 800 people.”

Each of the teams will be judged in a number of categories during the day-long tournament .

“We have judges evaluating teams on their robot design and all the teams do a research project that’s focused on the challenge,” said Weil, who expects about 800 people to attend the tournament at Tennessee Tech’s Memorial Gymnasium. “We also evaluate teams’ core values, which involve things they have learned about the challenge.”

The winning team has the opportunity to take a nice trip in 2014.

“The winning team will receive a $1,000 stipend from Oak Ridge Associated Universities that they can use as a registration fee for attending an open tournament at LEGOLAND in California,” Weil said.

The East Tennessee Championship is co-sponsored by UT-Battelle and Tennessee Tech.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit <>.


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