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WF students to compete in Lego robot competition

Students will compete at the FIRST Lego League Robotics Championship in Grand Forks on Saturday. Submitted photo.

Thirty-five teams of nine-year-old to 14-year-old students will arrive at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks from across North Dakota and northwest Minnesota on Saturday, Jan. 28, to show off their science, engineering and technology skills at the N.D. FIRST Lego League Robotics Championshp.

The competition, which is free and open to the public, is held annually at the UND Memorial Union. The robot competition will begin with the opening ceremony at 9 a.m., and will continue through 1 p.m. Awards will be presented at 2:30 pm.

North Dakota teams for this year's competition come from Grand Forks, Hillsboro, Halliday, Devils Lake, Fargo, Cando Bismarck, McVille, West Fargo, Northwood, Leeds, Surrey and Grafton. Minnesota teams are from Hallock, Karlstad, Glyndon, Fisher and Moorhead.

Teams from West Fargo include: Fear the Flaming Moon, Cheney Middle School; Health Crashers, STEM Center; STEM Heroes, STEM Center; and Guaranteed to "I Don't Know" (GTIDK), Cheney Middle School.

Every year, FLL works with experts to create a challenge that relates to a significant real-world issue. The end result is a two-part challenge that requires research to complete "The Project," as well as science and engineering to master the complex missions of "The Robot Game," which includes the "Missions and the Rules."

This year's robotics and research challenge, "Food Factor" will explore the topic of food safety and examine the possible points of contamination that human food encounters, then find ways to prevent or combat these contaminates.

In the Food Factor Challenge, teams will build, test and program an autonomous robot using Legos to solve a set of food safety missions as well as research, develop and share their innovative food safety solutions. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FLL's signature set of core values.

The FLL competition is judged in four areas: project presentation, robot performance, technical design and programming of the robot, and FLL Core Values. The highest honor will go to the team that best exemplifies the spirit and values of the program.

UND and the UND School of Engineering and Mines host the event with the help of many UND student and community volunteers. Corporate sponsors of this year's event include UND Engineering, UND Memorial Union, Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, HB Sound & Light, Cargill, Xcel Energy, Bobcat Company, Otter Tail Power Company, Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. (AE2S), Minnkota Power Cooperative, Inc., American Crystal Sugar Company, EAPC Architects & Engineers, and S&S Promotional Group Inc.