Students participate in Lego competition
The Augusta Chronicle. Amanda King. December 07, 2019.
Twelve teams from Richmond, Columbia and McDuffie county schools gathered at A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School on Saturday for a First Lego League Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics competition.

The competition is held for elementary and middle school students to showcase engineering and computer science skills. Competitions are held all over the world but the closest to Augusta-area students is in Atlanta. A.R. Johnson assistant principal and competition coordinator Travis Wiggins said hosting the event gives local students an opportunity to compete and build critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Students programmed robots built from Legos to complete assigned tasks. After practicing and adapting the programs to successfully meet the challenges, teams competed against one another and were judged on their skills.

Their ability to build and program robots wasn’t the only thing judges looked at - they also met with teams to see how well they worked together. A.R. Johnson seventh-grader Kaitlyn Bartlett, 12, shared some of her team’s thoughts.

“Communication is key to anything,” she said. “You have to make sure you communicate about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.”

High school students also have their own opportunities for competing just on a larger scale. Legos are not used in the First Robotics Competition or the First Tech Challenge and robots and designs for the competitions can cost thousands of dollars, requiring students to find sponsors to compete.

Students like BreAnna James, 15, from Cross Creek High School, began competing in the Lego events and went on to win awards at the higher-level competitions. Wiggins said the events are similar to a scaffold as students advance in their STEM abilities.

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