State Robotics Tournament Coming to Fairmont State


There’s going to be a special kind of competition in Fairmont this weekend, bringing scores of young people to the campus of Fairmont State University. The competition mixes together a little bit of science, engineering, math, and a whole lot of imagination.

More than 1,000 people are expected this weekend at the state robotics team competition, known as the First LEGO League. The challenge is to get a team’s robot to compete on a playing field and complete specific tasks. This year’s theme is on natural disasters, so the robots must help prepare communities to deal with those events- whether they be an avalanche, tsunami, or wildfire.

Todd Ensign is the program director of the NASA Educator Resource Center, which is helping to run the competition this weekend. He says there’s also a unique twist to the competition.

They are thrown into a room and asked to perform a top secret task, that will glean insight into how they work together under stress, as a group as a team. If they are asked to build something with a pile of Legos, if one student grabs all the Legos and tries to build it, that wouldn’t be a good teamwork score,” said Ensign.

Ensign says this robotics competition, which will be bringing in middle school students from around the state, is the largest STEM competition in the state. He says it’s also getting stronger credibility.

It’s not so uncool now to be on the robotics team,” said Ensign.

“A number of years ago, if you wanted to go to the robotics tournament, it was an unexcused absence from school. That’s not true today.”

The competition is Saturday at the Falcon Center at Fairmont State University. It’s open to the public in the afternoon, from 1:00-5:00 pm.