Middle school students solve transportation issues in Third Annual FIRST LEGO League Competition at Rowan

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Rowan University’s Third Annual FIRST LEGO League Competition will call on middle school students to lay the building blocks for solving tomorrow’s transportation challenges—LEGO® building blocks, that is.

Rowan University’s Third Annual FIRST LEGO League Competition will call on middle school students to lay the building blocks for solving tomorrow’s transportation challenges—LEGO® building blocks, that is. 

About 100 area middle school students will battle for these solutions in a qualifying-round competition at Rowan on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Chamberlain Student Center on the University’s Glassboro campus. Teams of up to 10 members, ages 9 through 14, will build robots from LEGO MINDSTORMS parts to accomplish various objectives. Following this year’s theme of transportation, students are asked to research a problem in their community and develop an innovative solution. Their findings will be judged at the competition.

Sponsored by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the event teaches critical thinking, presentation and math and science skills. Participating schools include Pitman Middle School in Pitman; Rosemont School of the Holy Child in Rosemont, Pa.; Penn Valley Elementary School of the Lower Merion (Pa.) School District; Winslow Township Middle School in Atco and Community Middle School in Plainsboro.

Co-chaired by Dr. Jennifer Kay, associate professor of computer science, and Dr. Hong Zhang, associate professor of mechanical engineering, the event allows students to explore engineering, computer science and related science disciplines and consider pursuing future leadership roles in those fields. This year's competition at Rowan is sponsored by Pro Computer Service, founded by Rowan alum Anthony Mongeluzo.

Assisted by coaches, the participants will vie for the prize categories of robot performance, teamwork, project presentation, robot design and team spirit — all determined by a panel of judges consisting of Rowan faculty, representatives from other schools and industry professionals. About 30 Rowan student volunteers will help with the event.

The competition schedule is as follows (all events take place in the Rowan University Student Center, Glassboro, N.J.):

10:30 a.m. — Opening Ceremony (open to the public)
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Judging
2:15 – 4 p.m. — Robot Performance Competition Rounds (open to the public)
4:30 – 5 p.m. — Awards and Closing Ceremony (open to the public)

Winning teams will advance to the state level competition at the University of Delaware on Jan. 30, 2010.

For more information, visit http://www.rowan.edu/firstlego.

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