OGDEN — Almost 50 teams of students ranging from fourth to eighth grades descended on Weber State University over the weekend with their team-made Lego robots.
The mixed-age teams were participating in the 10th annual FIRST Lego League Utah North State Championship. About 1,100 people were in attendance, said Dana Dellinger, director of the Center for Technology Outreach at Weber State, whose office organized the event. Teams represented districts as far north as Cache County and as far south as Juab.
The “Electtro Sloths” from Riverton took top honors, advancing to the world championship in Houston. Dellinger said in an email that judges were impressed that the team’s robot had “a unique multi-directional lift mechanism. It allowed them to carry and maneuver objects with extreme precision and speed — they could even make it dance!”
Five teams represented Weber and Davis counties. Three were from communities in Weber School District, one was from Layton in Davis School District and one represented Ogden.
Not all teams are affiliated with schools, Dellinger said. Many are connected to community groups or are “friends and family” teams.
The “Legendary Lego Lions” from Pleasant View won first in the competition’s strategy and innovation award. A team called “TNT,” also from Pleasant View, won second place in the innovative solution award. And “7 Wonders,” the team from Layton, won second place in mechanical design.
The team representing Ogden was one of 17 in the city that had competed to advance to the state competition.
“We love (FIRST Lego League) ... because it’s such a positive program,” Dellinger said. “It ... hits many things that we want to do at our university. One of those is community service. Another is encouraging kids in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and simply to be problem-solvers and innovators ... and helping this long-term vision of building the STEM workforce in Utah.”
The event was staffed by about 80 volunteers from Northrop Grumman and Hill Air Force Base, which sponsor the competition. Weber State also funds a portion of the event, Dellinger said.
FIRST Lego League is a global robotics competition that came about through a collaboration between the Lego Group, makers of the famous interconnecting blocks, and FIRST, a nonprofit that seeks to advance youth education in STEM. More than 40,000 teams around the world participate in competitions.