Fifty teams of kids from Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska are using a familiar toy to learn about engineering and science today (Saturday) on the campus of Iowa State University. The nine- to 14-year-old students are participating in what’s called a “LEGO League Tournament.” Camille Schroeder of the I-S-U engineering department says the teams have to create LEGO robots. The kit of material they use is called a minstorm invention system, and it allows them to use a computer to program their robot. The teams have specified tasks they have to complete with their robots to get points. Schroeder says the competition also includes interviews based on teamwork, the technical aspects of what they’re doing, and a “challenge” theme. This year’s challenge theme is “no limits” and it centers on overcoming obstacles for people with physical limits. Schroeder says the whole idea is to give kids hands-on experience in engineering and science. She says some of the children don’t know what engineers do. They have time limits and design specifications for the project and she says they work like engineers in industry. Schroeder says the winners move on in the competition to “worldfest” which includes teams from all states and from all over the world. The tournament runs from nine a-m until five p-m in Howe Hall and Hoover Hall. It is free and open to the public.
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