It may sound like child’s play, but middle schoolers from across Iowa are involved in a very adult project this weekend at Iowa State University — building real robots from Lego blocks to perform a variety of tasks. I-S-U’s Camille Schroeder is organizing the event which she says gets the young minds thinking about solving problems and working as a team.At least 15 teams (of up to ten students each) are taking part in the FIRST Lego League Challenge in Ames on Saturday. FIRST stands for: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Schroeder says the competition gives students hands-on experience with science, math, engineering and technology. They’ll have to build robots from special Lego kits and make them meet several challenges.The robots have to deliver food to a market, move hazardous waste, run a windmill, fix a bridge and move rocks off a soccer field — all urban development, emergency management and city planning issues. Schroeder says the kids have fun with the challenge, even though they’re learning plenty in the process.The competition runs from 8 to 5 Saturday in the atrium of Howe Hall at I-S-U. The contests involve 26-thousand students nationwide, ages nine to 14, competing in 30 cities.
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