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OCTC hosts FIRST Lego League Tournament

Teams of young scientists and engineers earned honors during the Owensboro Regional FIRST Lego League Competition Dec. 1 at Owensboro Community and Technical College.
Sorgho Elementary Schools Sorgho-Bots received the Champions award for outstanding performance in all competition areas. Other award winners included Southern Oaks Elementary for Mechanical Design, Owensboro Catholic Middle School for Robot Strategy amp; Innovation and Fordsville Elementary School for Core Values Innovation. Estes Elementary School was recognized with the judges Rising Star award, and Fordsville received the judges Against All Odds award.
The following Owensboro area teams will join Sorgho Elementary in advancing to the state competition February 2 in Bowling Green: Southern Oaks Elementary, Owensboro Catholic Middle School and Daviess County Middle Schools Stormin Panthers.
In FIRST Lego League competition, elementary and middle-school students in grades 4-8 get to design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology. Throughout the process they learn to apply real-world math and science concepts, research challenges facing todays scientists as well as team-building and presentation skills. Its fun, exciting and helps them develop skills that will last a lifetime.
More than 350 students, teachers and volunteers attended the OCTC event. All teams competed in the Senior Solutions challenge, which taught students about difficulties faced by aging populations. Students presented innovative ways to help this population using science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research and knowledge.
FIRST, which represents For Inspiration in Recognition of Science and Technology, is a non-profit organization that was created in 1989 to get more students involved in STEM areas by making learning fun with a sport for the mind. The Owensboro Regional FLL Competition has been sponsored by OCTC for 5 years in conjunction with community partners Domtar and Time Warner Cable. This year, Henderson Community College joined the partnership.
Last year, OCTC received a National Science Foundation grant to promote and implement STEM initiatives (such as FIRST robotics programming) with underrepresented groups in Kentucky. Underrepresented groups in STEM fields include females, minorities, disabled students, low-income and first-generation college students. Teams made up of a majority of underrepresented groups may be eligible for funding.
Since the implementation of this grant, more than 500 students have been exposed to STEM education through summer academies, Discover STEM clubs and FIRST competitions. For more information, contact Jessica Cecil, OCTC STEM Specialist at Jessica.cecil@kctcs.edu.
PHOTO CAPTION: Sorgho Elementary School students Austin Cecil and Sicilly Rhineburger, members Sorgho-bots team, operate their LEGO MINDSTORMS robot as coaches Destiny Hulsey and Ted Morton Sr. observe. The Sorgho-bots received the Champion Award at during the Owensboro Regional FIRST Lego League Competition Dec. 1 at Owensboro Community and Technical College.