Durham College hosts provincial STEM challenge for hundreds of elementary students

Oshawa, Ont. – More than 800 Grade 4 to 8 students from across the province gathered at Durham College’s (DC) Oshawa Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre to put their engineering skills and LEGO-based robots to the test during the 2023 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge Ontario East and West Provincial Championships, this past weekend.

In preparation for the challenge, 76 student teams – guided by adult coaches – designed, built and programmed their robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS and LEGO SPIKE Prime technology. At the event, each team’s robot competed for the championship title by navigating a themed playing field and completing assigned missions and tasks.

As one of Canada’s Greenest Employers and repeat gold level FLL sponsor, Durham College was the perfect location for this year’s SUPERPOWERED challenge theme, which encouraged participants to think creatively and critically to research and develop innovative solutions that improve the ways in which energy is captured, stored, distributed and used. These concepts connect directly to DC’s programs, initiatives and values.

“Durham College is leading the way in sustainability, which is why I’m so excited to see you use your imagination and innovative problem-solving skills to address real-world issues that directly impact our communities,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, Academic, Durham College, during Saturday’s opening ceremony. “As you work together today, remember that the skills you’re developing, as well as your curiosity and drive to succeed, are the building blocks for future learning and exploration in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the trades.”

With its geothermal field and Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), the ongoing transformation of DC’s energy infrastructure is one of the many ways the college is prioritizing its green initiatives to ensure this young generation of renewable energy experts have access to state-of-the-art facilities to support their educational journey.

At the end of the fun-filled and challenging weekend, team Équipe Francobotique from the Association des francophones de la région de York placed first in the East division, qualifying them to compete in an international competition, and team GreenR Bots from the Halton STEM Club placed first in the West division, securing them a spot at the FIRST LEGO League Challenge World Festival, held in Houston, Texas, in April.

More information about FIRST LEGO League is available online.


With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby, Durham College (DC) offers over 12,500 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students access to more than 145 programs, including five honours bachelor degrees and nine apprenticeship programs. 

DC enables students to develop career-ready skills for the ever-changing job market by providing an exceptional college education. With a focus on experiential learning, led by expert faculty, through field placements, applied research, co-ops and other hands-on opportunities, DC grads are known for having the skills and knowledge employers need. 

Carmen Doucette
Communications and Marketing