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Third annual First Lego League regional competition to be held at WKCTC December 12

The third annual First LEGO League Regional Qualifier Competition at West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) is stacking up to be another fun and educational experience for fourth through eighth grade students throughout the Jackson Purchase area. The public is invited to attend the December 12 event.

WKCTC, the Challenger Learning Center at Paducah and Torey Earle with Kentucky 4-H SET (Science, Engineering, Technology) have once again joined forces to help bring the FLL regional competition to Paducah.

Fifteen teams from area elementary, intermediate and middle schools will participate in this years tournament that will be held in WKCTCs Emerging Technology Center from 8 a.m. 3 p.m. The competition begins at 10 a.m. Nearly 150 participants are currently expected to attend the competition.

Participating teams are from Christian, Fulton, Calloway, Lyon, Marshall and McCracken counties. Some counties represent more than one team.

Student interest in this competition continues to grow, and we continue to be excited to have the students on campus and to provide the venue for them to showcase their talents in the STEM disciplines, said Kevin ONeill, WKCTC continuing education director.

Students have designed, built, tested and programmed robots using LEGO EV3 or MINDSTORMS technology, applying real-world math and science concepts, researching challenges facing todays scientists, practicing critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills. The WKCTC competition also provides students the opportunity to participate in future tournaments and celebrations. Numerous awards will be given during the competition and four teams will move on to the State FLL at Northern Kentucky University in February.

Each year the FLL Challenge is centered on a specific STEM theme designed to help kids see themselves as capable of improving the lives of others through addressing real-world problems. This years theme, which is based around recycling, is titled, Trash Trek Project. Students will identify a problem with the way they make or handle trash, design an innovative solution to the problem they select, and share their problem and solution with judges and other teams.

The WKCTC competition will also need volunteers to help create the FLL experience for students. An estimated 50 adults and 80 students are needed for the December 12 FLL competition. Parents are encouraged to get involved; no FLL competition experience needed. Mentors and community members/groups with expertise in this years theme are also encouraged to participate.

For more details about the FLL competition, visit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/fll. You may also contact Torey Earle, 4-H agent for Science, Engineering and Technology, 270-534-3071, tearle@uky.edu; Mellisa Duncan, Challenger Learning Center at Paducah director, 270-534-3097, mellisa.duncan@kctcs.edu; or Bill Kunnecke, WKCTC program director of the STEAM Initiative, at (270) 534 3157, bill.kunnecke@kctcs.edu.

Registration for spring classes at WKCTC is currently underway. Call 1-(855) GO-WKCTC or visit westkentucky.kctcs.edu for class offerings. Spring classes begin January 11.