CLEMSON — Eighty teams of 9- to 14-year-olds will build and maneuver robots in the state FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournament on Saturday at
Clemson University’s Littlejohn Coliseum. Competing for a spot at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival, teams must maneuver robots through challenges on an obstacle course and complete as many tasks as possible in two-and-a-half minutes. Opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m., with competition starting at 10 a.m. The event is open to the public and free for spectators. Robots are built from LEGO Mindstorm robotics kits containing more than 1,100 pieces, including LEGO bricks, motors, sensors, software and gears. Teams spend months before competition designing and building their robots. The event draws approximately 5,000 students, parents, coaches and spectators to Littlejohn. Volunteers are being recruited to help with the event and can sign up at by following the “volunteers” link. “Clemson University is honored to host the 800-plus children participating, as well as their parents and coaches,” said Clemson professor Christine Minor, SC FIRST LEGO League partner and state tournament coordinator. “As a university, we recognize that these children are the future scientists, engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians and scholars of every form that will fill our halls, expand our horizons and lead the state of South Carolina into the future,” Minor said.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to encourage young people’s interest in science and technology. The Manchester, N.H.-based FIRST is a nonprofit public charity that designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.