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Build your way to 1st place in upcoming Lego League Tournament

UMBC’s RAC will have robots and wacky hats

Robots, Pizza, goofy hats and a free t-shirt will all be apart of the upcoming tournament hosted by UMBC

Robots will be roaming around the RAC on Saturday, February 7th for the FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Tournament. Young students between the ages of 9 to 14 will be competing in teams to solve challenges with their LEGO-built robots.

The students that will be competing at the qualifying tournament are encouraged to don any silly or ridiculous hats they might have for the event.   Although the tournament encourages people to bring the fun, these young students are combining the fields of science and technology to create robots with the ability to complete various tasks.

Every team is judged in the area of Robot Design, Project and Core Values. With guidance from mentors, students are encouraged to rely on their teammates to collaborate and problem solve for various assigned challenges.

Alongside adult mentors, FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams research and design their own solutions to a current scientific question or problem using engineering concepts to create autonomous LEGOs.

The tournament is open to all who wish to attend and is currently seeking student volunteers to assist with the logistics of the event. Adrienne Wheeler, assistant to the department chair of mechanical engineering, had experience as a volunteer at the 2014 Tournament.

“It was so great to see [the students] invest in their projects. All the time, all the energy, and then seeing it all come together is a fantastic testament to their effort,” said Wheeler.

This event provides students with an opportunity to expand their knowledge of science and technology, while building gadgets made with Legos.

The FIRST LEGO League Tournament stresses a set of core values, which include the importance of collaboration and problem-solving skills while engaging in healthy competition.  “It makes the RAC seem really small when all of [the students] are running around in their big, weird hats, talking robots and movies. I will definitely be there this year,” said Wheeler.

Last year’s state tournament was also hosted at UMBC, and featured nearly 350 teams competing in 17 qualifier rounds. The challenge last year was “Nature’s Fury,” which examined storms, quakes, waves and other natural disasters.

Anyone interested in volunteering for this tournament can sign up at or through the community events page on myUMBC.

The tournament will be providing free food and t-shirts for all volunteers. Winners of the tournament will advance to the Maryland First LEGO League championship which will also be hosted at UMBC on February 28 which will feature the top 72 FIRST LEGO League teams.