FIRST Lego League Qualifying Tournament to be in Pierre Saturday




PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) Teams of youngsters will be in Pierre tomorrow to compete in a FIRST Lego League regional qualifier tournament.  The tournament is to be hosted by the South Dakota Discovery Center and is being held at Riggs High School.  The FIRST Lego League was organized with the intent of encouraging youth to explore science, technology, engineering and math careers. Participation in the FIRST Lego League has grown in recent years, and the expansion has resulted in qualifying tournaments having to be held in South Dakota-according to local tournament coordinator Diana Melvin.

From qualifying tournaments, participants will go on the state tournament which will be held at Augustana College in February.  Melvin says teams of students-from ages 9-14-start creating and programming a robot built with Legos in the fall.  During tomorrow’s tournament, each team’s robot will earn points as the device makes its way through challenges on an eight foot by four foot table top within a few minutes.  Each year there is a theme and this year, it is “Senior Solutions”.  Melvin says participants have had to do research on issues facing seniors and propose a solution to those challenges.

Melvin calls the competition “Athletics of the Mind” and says it teaches youngsters core values like cooperation and teamwork.  In addition, she says it builds computer, math and engineering skills in the students.

Teams from Pierre/Fort Pierre, McIntosh, Huron and White River are participating and Melvin says students from Murdo are expected to attend so they can watch and observe and possibly participate next year.  The public is invited to the competition, as well.  Those that may be interested in volunteering can contact the South Dakota Discovery Center at 224-8295 or e-mail Melvin at

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