FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Robotics 2016 Regional Championship

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Robotics 2016 Regional Championship

Elementary and middle school students solve real-life environmental problems with research, ingenuity, LEGO bricks and robots

Kansas City, MO (January 11, 2016)—More than 400 students in fourth through eighth grades will come together Saturday, Jan. 16, to compete in the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Regional Championship at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd., Kansas City, Mo. The opening ceremony and team parade begins at 11:45 a.m. and is open and free to the public.

Saturday’s championship will feature 41 teams comprised of more than 400 elementary and middle school students who advanced from a field of 108 teams through four regional qualifier tournaments in November and December 2015.

With adult coaches to guide them, FLL teams apply science, engineering and math concepts—plus a big dose of imagination—to develop solutions to real-world challenges. They also design, build and program LEGO MINDSTORMS®-based robots to perform autonomous “missions” on a playing field. Along the way, they develop critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills.

This season’s FIRST® LEGO® League Trash Trek Challenge sent teams on a mission to make less trash or to improve the way people handle the trash we make. See their solutions—from more efficient trips to the recycling center to reducing paper towel use and conserving water—and watch their robots perform a series of waste and recycling missions. These include composting a carrot, bone and fish; putting an engine in a car and and more!

FIRST competitions show kids that with science, technology, engineering and math you can solve real-world problems,” said Gretchen Neis, who directs FIRST LEGO League and Junior FLL programs for KC STEM Alliance. “The exciting sports-like atmosphere of the tournament allows kids to discover science and technology in a whole new way.”

In addition to competing for a spot at the FIRST World Festival competition in April, teams can win awards in categories such as teamwork, programming, design, research, innovation and creativity at Saturday’s event. Teams can also earn recognition for fulfilling the core values of FIRST, which include gracious professionalism and “coopertition,” which encourages teams to display unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.

Facilitating FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) programs in the Kansas City region is a primary way KC STEM Alliance brings STEM programming to students outside of the classroom.

“We know it’s important for kids to experience STEM activities in lots of ways, both formally and informally; in school and outside of school,” said KC STEM Alliance’s Martha McCabe. “We’re helping to nurture the next generation of problem solvers.”

Schedule of events for Saturday’s FIRST LEGO League Regional Championship:

Note to the Media: Photo/interview opportunities with robotics teams (students, parents and/or coaches; and representatives of KC STEM Alliance KC FIRST will be available. Media members covering Saturday’s event should enter through Union Station’s main entrance on the south side of the building.

7:15 a.m.         Local robotics teams arrive and unload/set up robotics

8:30 a.m.         Practice robot rounds begin

11:45 a.m.       FIRST LEGO League Opening Ceremony and Team Parade

12:45 p.m.       Official robot rounds begin

3:35 p.m.         Robot game ends

4:10 p.m.         Awards and Closing Ceremony

In conjunction with Saturday’s FIRST LEGO League robotics event, Science City will offer Buy One, Get One FREE adult tickets at the ticket window to all event attendees. For more information on Science City visit


Inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering (STEM). Kansas City FIRST, the local program, hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and supports FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) for high school students, FIRST LEGO League (FLL ) for 9 to 14 year olds, and Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for 6 to 9 year olds. To learn more about Kansas City FIRST or US FIRST and its programs, go to

About KC STEM Alliance

KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network of educators, business partners and organizations that inspires interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers to generate a robust force of related professionals for our community. For more information, please visit