CLEARFIELD -- Braden Maloney has always enjoyed playing with Legos, so when he had an opportunity to put them to use in the classroom, he quickly signed up.
The Hill Field Elementary School sixth-grader is part of a First Lego League team of students putting together an NXT robot made of the blocks.
They also are preparing to guide the robot through a model of the human body.
First Lego League is a global robotics and innovation program designed to bring out interest and enthusiasm for science, teamwork, technology and discovery.
NXT is the brain of the robot, using a computer-controlled Lego brick that allows the robot to perform various operations.
"The interesting thing is that the robot is exploring," Braden said.
The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders on the robot team, led by science teacher Burke Becklund, have been meeting every Thursday after school to work on the robot. They have also been studying bioengineering and how it applies to the real world.
"Students are to come up with a robot that can do the tasks the robot is asked to perform from the student programmers," Becklund said. "Before any of this can be done, students must learn how to program the robot and teach each other what they have learned."
Team members received a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math grant from Department of Defense Educational Activities.
Early next year, the team members plan to attend a state competition at University of Utah to test their skills against students from other schools.
When Becklund was asked by Principal Paul Bryner to head up the Hill Field Elementary School team, he was thrilled. "I was given a Lego set for Christmas from age 6 to 18," Becklund said. "Robots, computer programming and Legos? I had to accept."
Eric Gibson, a fourth-grader, said he likes the way the robot moves.
"I asked my mom to sign the permission slip," sixth-grader Kahlil Jackson said. "I find programming the robot is the most interesting. I have learned how to program. I hope to accomplish any problem the competition throws at us."