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This group was among 50 students and faculty/staff members who volunteered to help make the First State FIRST LEGO League Qualifier a success.

  DSU Hosts the Lower Del. First State FIRST LEGO League Qualifier

Jaula Pitts and Sierra Wise, of the DSU Explorer Club's Amazing Scientists team, get their robot ready for the competition.

Consistent with its increased emphasis in the STEM discipline Delaware State University hosted the first-ever Lower Delaware First State FIRST LEGO League Qualifier competition for elementary and middle children on Jan. 19.

The FIRST LEGO event engages children to different areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and allows them to compete in designing and building a robot, the understanding of core values and in research presentations.

Seventeen teams from throughout Lower Delaware – including two teams from the DSU-sponsored Explorer Club – competed in the qualifier. Large tables were set up in the second floor parlors of the MLK Student Center, on which small mobile robots designed by each teams were put to the test in completing a programmed task.

“This competition emphasizes teamwork, thinking skills, the use of technology in a productive way, and being creative,” said Cheryl Potack, a mathematics teacher at the Charter School of Wilmington, which fielded a team in the competition.

The DSU Explorer Club teams – the Amazing Scientists and the 1.7 Hotties – finished 10th and 17th, respectively.

Jatique Gilliard and Michale Speller, the DSU Explorer Club's 1.7 Hotties team, work on their robot.

Dr. Eric Cheek, the director of DSU Adult and Continuing Education served as the coordinator of the qualifier. He said the top six teams from the qualifier would go on to compete on Jan. 26 at the First State FIRST LEGO League Championship at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware in Newark.

The top six teams that will go to the First State FIRST LEGO League Championship are the Comets -White team and the Comet - Red team both of St. Ambrose School (Pa.), the MOE Bulldogs  of the Prestige Academy of Wilmington, Newark Charter School 1 team, the Brader Elementary School Tigers of Newark, and the top qualifier team, the Chef Bot-Ar-Dees of the Unionville-Chaddis Ford School District (Pa.).

The winner of that competition will be invited to the FIRST LEGO International Festival in LEGOLAND in California.

During the morning session, junior FIRST LEGO League teams also participated in robotics events, which included four teams from the DSU Explorers Club. All of the junior teams won prizes in their respective categories.

About 50 students and faculty/staff members volunteered their time at the event to help make it a resounding success.