Media Contact: Fred Strohl

Tennessee teams compete Saturday in FIRST LEGO League Tournament


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OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 3, 2004 — More than 40 Tennessee middle school teams will compete in Saturday's fifth annual state FIRST LEGO League Tournament at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville.

The event, co-sponsored by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, features minature robots made from Legos building blocks perform tasks on a table.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory engineer Brad Weil said judging in the competition is based on several factors.

"Primarily there is the performance activity where they actually demonstrate their robots in about three rounds of competition, but also there is a project presentation that they make," Weil said.

Students have been working furiously for months getting ready for this weekend's competition, he said.

"FIRST LEGO League season actually starts with registration in May, but they don't find out about the challenge and what it's all about until about the first week in October," said Weil. "That gives them only about eight to 10 weeks to actually build and program an autonomous robot that will accomplish the challenge."

FIRST LEGO League encourages young people to pursue careers in science, math and engineering.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.


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