LEGO competition builds more than just creativity - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

LEGO competition builds more than just creativity

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

School competitions usually involve sports or academic questions of some kind.    

But one competition uses some unique materials to build the minds of the future.

"It's tough to get it to do just what you want to so, it's tough," said Ote Albrecht a 6th grader from Le Mars, IA.

Saturday teams of kids, their parents and coaches from all over Northwest Iowa filled East High School with their Lego creations.

Running for almost a decade, students ranging in age from 9-14 have been using the Lego Mindstorms set to create and run robots in the FIRST LEGO League.

"You can program it right, but there's other stuff that can affect it too...the table, the mat," said Ote Albrecht.

Their first time in competition it's been a learning experience for Albrect and his teammates.

"He's learning about debugging at an early age. So if he would ever go into this profession, he would have a lot of experience with debugging the robot," said Mary Albrecht, the team's coach.

But programming a robot is not the only aspect in the competition; students have to do some research as well.

"It's more than just building Legos. It's teamwork, its research, its coming up with innovative solutions for things that help the world," said Doyle Massey Regional Coordinator for the Sioux City FIRST LEGO League.

Teams also have to find solutions to real world problems. This year's theme: Food Factor Challenge.

"They picked pork and they looked for a contamination area in pork. We took field trips, we talked to experts and I feel like the kids learned so much and I feel like I've learned so much," said Mary Albrecht.

But whether they're rookies or veterans, the teams and their coaches say that this competition has been fantastic.

"It's been overwhelming at times, but it's such a great experience," said Mary.

"What do you think about the competition all together? - its fun, it's good," said Ote.

Winners in Saturday's competition will head to Iowa State University next month to compete against teams from across Iowa.

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