Roger williams University hosting hundreds of local students in Lego robotics tournament this weekend

Each member of winning team in FIRST LEGO League tournament will receive $20,000 in scholarships to attend RWU

BRISTOL, R.I., January 11, 2016 ­­– Roger Williams University will host nearly 500 elementary and middle school students from across Rhode Island in a LEGO robotics tournament on Saturday, Jan. 14.

Each member of the winning team will receive a RWU scholarship worth $5,000 per year for four years. So with teams of up to 10 members, the winners will receive up to $200,000 in scholarships.

The FIRST® LEGO® League Animal Allies Championship Tournament will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the RWU field house. While 81 teams started the season, 40 teams advanced through the qualifying tournament system to this weekend’s state championship. The robot game portion of the FIRST LEGO League state championship is free and open to the public.

FIRST LEGO League is a hands-on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) enrichment program that combines the excitement of robotics with a research project that encourages scientific literacy. In Rhode Island, FIRST LEGO League is managed by Rhode Island Students of the Future, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote STEAM engagement through youth robotics.

“Children need opportunities to make things and work through why it works or why it doesn’t,” said Rebekah Gendron, president of the Rhode Island Students of the Future board of directors. “FIRST LEGO League fosters persistence and problem solving skills, which serve the students well as they move through their education and into careers.»

RWU President Donald J. Farish said, “Roger Williams University is dedicated to building the university the world needs now, and the world needs sharp, young minds focused on areas such as robotics and engineering. This FIRST LEGO League event engages students in those areas in a fun and fascinating way, and offering scholarships and support to the Rhode Island FIRST LEGO League provides a renewable investment that benefits our greater community.”

The teams have been meeting since September to build and program an autonomous LEGO EV3 robot that navigates across a playing field and scores points for completing various tasks. The teams also developed an innovative solution after defining research questions relating to the Animal Allies theme, which focused on improving the relationship between animals and humans.

At the action-packed tournament, teams compete in two-and-a-half minute matches to earn as many points as possible on the playing field, which is made entirely of LEGO elements. In morning judging sessions, each team presents their Animal Allies research project and innovative solution to professionals from the community.

Teams, comprised of up to 10 students ages 9-14, vie for awards in categories such as Robot Design, Robot Strategy, Research Quality, and Teamwork. The team earning a strong evaluation across all judging categories and in the robot game wins the coveted Champion’s Award and is eligible to compete in the FIRST World Festival, an event held in April 2017 that brings together teams from 80 countries to celebrate the spirit of friendly competition and collaboration.

Attached is a list of the participating teams – ranging from Dumbledore’s Army in Riverside to Westerly’s Robo-Bulldogs.

For more information, contact Mary Johnson at (401) 249-0110 or visit the Rhode Island Students of the Future website:

About RWU: With campuses on the coast of Bristol and in the heart of Providence, R.I., Roger Williams University is a forward-thinking private university committed to strengthening society through engaged teaching and learning. At RWU, small classes, direct access to faculty and guaranteed opportunity for real-world projects ensure that its nearly 4,000 undergraduates – along with hundreds of law students, graduate students and adult learners – graduate with the ability to think critically along with the practical skills that today’s employers demand. Roger Williams is leading the way in American higher education, confronting the most pressing issues facing students and families – increasing costs, rising debt and job readiness.