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updated: 12/18/2013 4:54 PM

Kids to use problem-solving skills to complete in FIRST challenge

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Submitted by Fox Valley Robotics

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) brings its biggest annual FIRST Lego League season to Batavia with the 2013 "Nature's Fury" Challenge.

This year's challenge calls for teams of 9- to 14-year-olds to research and present their own creative solutions to one of today's most relevant topics: what can be done to battle natural disasters.

On Saturday, Dec. 21, at Rotolo Middle School in Batavia, 12 weeks of research and design will culminate in the Batavia FLL Regional where 32 teams of children and coaches will demonstrate their problem-solving skills, creative thinking, teamwork, competitive play, sportsmanship, and sense of community. Fox Valley Robotics and Batavia Robotics will host the free event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rotolo Middle School, 1501 S. Raddant Road, Batavia.

With missions including raising a house to avoid a flood, avoiding fallen obstacles, sending in an airplane for aid, mobilizing ambulance and emergency vehicles for assistance, and rescuing people and animals, teams will have to program their robots to explore the growing questions on how natural disasters impact the lives of people involved.

The competition is judged in four areas: project presentation; robot performance; technical design and programming of the robot; and teamwork. The highest honor will go to the team that best exemplifies the spirit and values of the program.

"Nature's Fury" gives kids a hands-on, real world experience allowing them to use their imaginations and creativity in combination with science and technology, and lets them experience firsthand the very real and exhilarating struggle that even the top leaders and inventors in the world face.

Each September, FIRST Lego League announces the annual Challenge to teams, engaging them in authentic scientific research and hands-on robotics design. Using Lego Mindstorms technologies and Lego play materials, children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program robots to complete missions based on real-world challenges. After many intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sportslike tournaments.

Currently in its 14th year, FIRST Lego League anticipates its biggest season ever, with more than 19,000 teams in 50 countries competing in hundreds of qualifying events and championship tournaments. More than 200,000 children will compete to win honors and recognition. Teams will also have the opportunity to participate at the FIRST Lego League World Festival, to be held in conjunction with the FIRST Championship in April at the St. Louis Dome. To learn more, visit