CEDAR FALLS — Water — how it’s found, transported, used and disposed of — will be the theme of FIRST Lego League regional meets Saturday and Sunday across the Cedar Valley.

Students will flood Peet Junior High School in Cedar Falls on Saturday and Hawkeye Community College’s Tama Hall in Waterloo on Sunday to work on the competition’s “Hydro Dynamics” challenge. A total of 35 teams of up to 10 9- to 14-year-olds are expected Saturday and another 20 at Sunday’s event. Peet will also host 14 Junior FIRST Lego League teams, which include 6- to 9-year-olds.

Teams compete in tabletop matches using Lego Mindstorms robots they built and programmed.

The public is invited to attend the free events, both starting at 9 a.m. Peet’s event is expected to continue until 3 p.m. followed by an awards ceremony. Hawkeye’s event will hold its awards ceremony at 12:30 p.m.

Peet is located at 525 E. Seerley Blvd., Cedar Falls. Hawkeye is located at 1501 E. Orange Road, Waterloo.

Teams are coming from Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Grundy Center, Denver, Evansdale, Allison, Dysart, La Porte City, Jesup, Ossian, Osage, Cedar Rapids, Gilbertville, Hudson, New Hartford, Waverly, Ames, Tipton and Calmar. The events are regional qualifiers for the state-level Lego League competition Jan. 13 and 14 at Iowa State University.

Students put 12-13 weeks into research, design and robot building to complete missions on a 4-foot by 8-foot thematic playing surface and obstacle course. Teams research problems with the water cycle, create or improve a solution and share their solutions with others. Through hands-on experience and working in teams, children have a chance to explore a real-world issue to gain an appreciation and interest in science and technology.

Scores are determined by how many missions are completed as well as by the presentations on the theme that teams make to a panel of judges. An ability to work together and demonstrate they are upholding FIRST’s core values are also important.

FIRST is the guiding organization that puts together the annual challenges. Its name is an acronym of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

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Waterloo Schools / HCC Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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