DC welcomes elementary students – and their LEGO robots – to campus

On January 14, Durham College (DC) was proud to host more than 400 of Ontario’s brightest young minds, along with their teachers, families and friends, as they competed in the annual FIRST® LEGO® League Ontario East Provincial Championship.

Known by its acronym that means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, FIRST is a U.S.-based, not-for-profit public charity that inspires young people to be science and technology leaders. Leadership and innovation was on full display at this year’s competition, held in DC’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre at the college’s Oshawa campus, as teams of students, ages nine to 14, showcased their hard work and skills.

Teams first presented research projects to multiple judging panels before unleashing their robots, which students designed, built and programmed using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology, on to table-top playing fields.

This year’s competition theme, Animal AlliesSM, challenged teams to think of people and animals as partners in the quest to make life better for everyone. Each team was asked to identify a real-world problem that occurs when people and animals interact; design a solution that would make the interaction better for animals, people or both; then share their identified problem and solution with others. In keeping with the theme, the robot playing fields and their challenges also focused on interactions between people and animals.

At the end of a day filled with fierce and fun competition, team CTRL-Z from Bayview Glen School in Toronto was crowned the winner and awarded an opportunity to compete at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in St. Louis, Missouri, in April.

As a sponsor and host of FIRST LEGO League, DC offers students what is often their first experience in a college environment and helps them to envision where their passion for robotics, technology and engineering can take them to pursue a post-secondary education. Just prior to the provincial championship, DC President Don Lovisa discussed just that when he joined the team from the First Nations School of Toronto, as well as FIRST representative Annika Pint, on City TV’s Breakfast Television.

For more information about FIRST LEGO League, including a complete list of award winners from the Ontario East Provincial Championship, please visit www.firstroboticscanada.org.