Lego Robots Bring Together Future Scientists - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Lego Robots Bring Together Future Scientists

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The world of robotics and Legos collided at Will James Middle School Saturday. Billings' students participating in a Lego League robotics competition practiced for the actual event.

They built their own Lego robots and programmed them to solve missions for FIRST Lego League, a national organization dedicated to promoting science and technology. FIRST stands for "for inspiration and recognition of science and technology."

"I stumbled on Lego things so I'm like well I like Legos and I've always wanted to figure out how to do robots and then I figured out about the project thing and it was really fun last year," said Jasen Denowh, a fifth grader at Eagle Cliffs Elementary

"When we look at the kids we have here, these are our future scientists, these are our future engineers that we are developing the excitement of what it's like to be an engineer, a scientist to solve problems," said Michael Hotaling, a technical manager at ExxonMobil Billings and one of the parents who started this in Billings.

The students also experienced the frustrations and successes engineers go through and learned a lot about teamwork.

Another part of the competition is coming up with solutions to problems. This year's theme is natural disasters. One team came up with a foam pole that alerts firefighters when the pole reaches a certain temperature and sprays eco-friendly foam to prevent wildfires.

"Science and technology, it's important because you can make things better and progress and live in a better world," said Jaimelynn Hotaling, a seventh grader at Will James Middle School.

"This is a way to where you can take something very, using Legos, and building robots at this age, gets them excited about what future opportunities they can embark on," Michael said.

Some of the solutions kids came up with nationally were applied to actual problems like texting and driving. Billings has 14 teams going to the statewide competition next weekend in Bozeman.