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FIRST Lego League Regional Competition is more than just play

Dec 11, 2016

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Each year the FIRST Lego League competition has a different theme.

This year was all about “Animal Allies”, and encouraged participants to explore interactions between humans and animals, and how they can work together in a more cohesive away. A regional championship was held Sunday at the University of Rochester.

The championship is a 4 part competition. One part has the teams completing a research project based on the theme.

Colton Adiletta and his team from Bay Trail Middle School talked about their shark repellant idea.

"Our solution was we can take a speaker and attach it to the bottom of a surf board and have it play dolphin noises because sharks are confused by dolphin noises.”

Katie Jarvis, from a separate Bay Trail team focused on bees.

"We're saving the bees because they’re all dying and it’s really important because they pollinate a third of the crops in the world. Chocolate, coffee and cotton, which are really important."

Her team called themselves the Cyber Bees and was dressed in all yellow and black for the tournament. Jarvis said she likes the strategizing that the Lego games offer.

"I really like getting to test out different things and I really like the sense of accomplishment when you finally get a mission right."

Another section of the competition is the one that generates the most excitement, the robot games.

Elizabeth Faust and Chloe Johnson from Orchard Park said that each team has to build a robot that complete a series of tasks which involved milking Lego cows, moving a Lego shark tank across the game board, and helping a visually impaired person cross the road with their Lego dog.

The competition is a day long event that wraps up an 8 week season of building and planning and research and test runs, but the girls said it’s more than worth all of the hard work.

"I like how we get to show off our knowledge and what we did over the course of the season...and it shows how hard we worked for this."

Teams from Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Corning and the Southern Tier competed in the event.

The first and second place winners of the Finger Lakes regional championships are awarded the opportunity to go to the FIRST Lego League World Festival in St Louis in April.