TWIN FALLS, Idaho — On January 28, dozens of middle school students competed in the FIRST LEGO League South Idaho Championships at South Hills middle school.
Teams of students were brought together to compete, challenging each other to build the best Lego robot. Each robot was tasked with a set of goals to complete, and the student-created robots were constructed and coded to accomplish said tasks.
Most mentors and coaches of the middle school teams were former members of the STEM competition and see the value in teaching students more about teamwork, coding, and technology.
“They can be creative, while also knowing they can have a bigger impact on the world,” said Max Young, sophomore at Buhl High School.
“When I became a part of this, it just really grew my leadership skills, my ability to talk to people. And I’ve really never been techy,” said Kaylee Lierman, sophomore at Filer High School.
Some programs are even sponsored and developed by local home school programs, bringing different students together from around the Magic Valley.
Luke Sands is a sixth grade student who enjoys many of the individual aspects that are associated with robotics competitions. “I like robots and coding and math, and I like a lot of stuff that involves this, and I like researching and yeah!,” says Sands.
Lierman and Young hope to see more STEM programs in Idaho so that any student can enjoy robotics and try it themselves.
“If you want to code, you can code. If you want to build, you can build. If you want to be creative, you can be creative. There's a job for anyone,” said Lierman.
“If there is not a program like this near you and you want to start one ... honestly, there are resources available. There is funding available and there are plenty of people willing to help,” said Young.
For more information on FIRST robotics, click here.