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Center for Educational Technologies projects have ended (except Challenger Learning Center) and are no longer funded.

Robotics Event Gets NASA Space Grant Funding

Wed Jul 1 2009

For the fifth consecutive year the Center for Educational Technologies® has received a grant from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium to host the annual West Virginia FIRST LEGO League Robotics Tournament.

The $10,000 grant is the maximum available through the consortium, and it will help pay tournament expenses. The tournament will be held Dec. 19 at Wheeling Jesuit University.

Earlier this year the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium approved funding for three robotics workshops for formal and informal educators. The first workshop, which will focus on the 2009 Smart Move! FIRST LEGO League tournament challenges, will be held Sept. 5 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Center for Educational Technologies. A second workshop is set for Nov. 19-21 at the West Virginia Science Teachers Association conference at Glade Springs Resort in Daniels. An additional LEGO robotics workshop may be requested for a group of 10 or more educators, parents, or youth group leaders.

E-mail Meri Cummings at or call her at 304-243-2499 to schedule a workshop in your area. Cummings is the science resource teacher at the Center for Educational Technologies and is the director of the state tournament.

The FIRST LEGO League competition asks teams of children ages 9-14 to demonstrate problem-solving and research skills, creative thinking, teamwork, competitive play, sportsmanship, and sense of community as they build robots that can perform the functions required in the competition. Judges score the teams in five areas: research and presentation, robot performance, technical mechanics of the robot's construction, teamwork, and gracious professionalism.

The competitors use LEGO building blocks and a special programmable brick to construct the core of their robots. LEGO MindStorms team challenge robotics kits let teams add moving parts. Then the students create programs to perform a series of tasks with their robots.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST LEGO League was created in a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Company in 1998. More than 48,000 children participate in the program.