Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team 3930 will host the Western Maine FIRST LEGO League Qualifier at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay on Saturday, Nov. 23. Sun Journal file photo

JAY — Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team 3930 (SMART) will host the Western Maine LEGO League Qualifier on Saturday, November 23, at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay. Up to 24 FIRST LEGO League (FLL; FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”) teams from central Maine will compete for awards and a slot at the Maine FLL Championships at the Augusta Civic Center December 14.  SMART is looking for volunteers to help make the event a success.

SMART Advisor Daniel Lemieux said, “We’re always looking for volunteers, donations of food items or cash to help purchase LEGO kits for the raffles.”

He said there are three qualifiers this year. The other two, one in southern Maine, the other in the northern part of the state will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16.

In FIRST Lego League, students ages 9 through 14 design, build and program Lego Mindstorm robots to compete on a 4’ x 8’ table. FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the CITY SHAPER season, teams will choose and solve a real-world problem. They will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a set of missions during the robot games. There is also an innovation project competition involving a five-minute presentation on a related issue.

Lemieux said, “Our cities and towns face big issues, like transportation, accessibility and even natural disasters. How can we shape a better future for everyone?”

FLL Advisor Rob Taylor said the season has some changes this year. Teams must share their innovation project (formerly referred to as a research project) with those who would have an interest in their project, gather their feedback and use it to improve the project.

“The table and table rules are also very different this year,” he said. “I told my teams “Forget everything you knew and start from scratch.” There is also a black space at the end of the table with the home base located after that.

“All parts and connections must be in that area. There are no carts allowed this year to hold those this year. There are also new rules for the use of jigs.

“We have had Lego League in our community for over a decade. We are so lucky to have the support of so many community members and businesses. Assisting with the qualifier is a great way to support our program. Anyone can help, regardless of experience; there is a job for everyone.”

Spruce Mountain Middle School has five teams preparing for the qualifier this year.

Anyone interested in serving as a judge or volunteering at the event should contact Christine Fournier, 207-491-0719 or [email protected]

Concession stand volunteers will be needed, and SMART Robotics is accepting donations of baked goods and food items. To help at concessions or make a food donation, please contact Sarah Delaney, 207-897-0978 [email protected]

For more information about SMART email [email protected]

For more information about FLL email [email protected]

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