NORTHFIELD, Vt. - First grade teacher Emily Jasinski and her team 'Royalton Robotics' were eager to show off what their robot can do. The group was among a dozen teams, with students ages nine to fourteen, who were given the task to build a robot, and have that robot solve a problem.
"This is our first competition the girls have been practicing since September, and they've worked really hard on their robot and robot design, their research project is getting the word out about how to stay safe in a flood, and they put a lot of energy into that, so it's been really cool," says Emily Jasinski from South Royalton School.
The robots are built from Legos. Teams of students compete with their machines to navigate an obstacle course and dispose of hazards along the way. The mission represents aiding their community during a natural disaster.
Matt Dunne of Google, a native Vermonter, was happy to see the students excited and inspired about the event. "When you can get your hands on a robot kit, and try to figure out how to put it together better than maybe other people had in the past, that's the kind of brain activity that we think leads to innovators for the next century," he says.
Norwich University hosted the event demonstrating the schools devotion to engineering and innovation.
"Norwich University is the first university in the United States to have taught engineering, that's the link and the importance for us," says Pamela Campbell of Norwich University.
Every year since 1998, The First Lego League Competition has been held in New Hampshire, but this year Vermont plays host.
"It's really great that Norwich is hosting the event, in the past Vermont teams had to go to New Hampshire, so it's really cool that we get to have a tournament here in Vermont," says Jasinski.
Although Jasinski and her team Royalton Robitics didn't do as well as they had hoped, they say they are learning from their mistakes and already eyeing next years competition.
"I was really impressed, the girls stayed really calm, nothing went right, but they really kept thinking, stayed calm, didn't get flustered, and they managed to finish the round and feel pretty good about it," says Jasinski.
Everyone at the event agrees the most important part of the competition - is have fun.