Charleston parks and rec. prepares for Lego League

Blake Warman, City Editor

For a third year, the Charleston parks and recreation department is building up for Lego League – a program for children to enhance their Lego-building skills and a chance to create a robot.

Lego League melds the use of rudimentary robotics to get children excited about sciences.

The first Lego League starts at 3:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. Monday at the Jefferson Elementary School. There will be meetings every Monday following until Dec. 8. Applications are still being accepted until Monday, and are open to anyone from the ages of 9 to 14, with a fee of $75 to participate.

Diane Ratliff, tourism and special events coordinator for Charleston parks and recreation, said she believes the upcoming season can provide entertainment for everyone, but especially for the children.

However, Ratliff added Lego League is not a casual group.

“You must commit to attending weekly and helping your team complete their challenges has defined Lego League,” she said.

The main goal for the league before the first tournament is to build a Lego robot. The children are not limited to using  just Legos, but they are limited to what control they have over their Lego robot.

Each robot in Lego league must be autonomous.

“The children can only press the start button. After that the robot must act independently,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff said every year the Lego League sets a theme for the robots to be entered in. Those who participate in the league are required to base their project around the theme. Last year’s theme, Natural Disasters, required the children to build a robot that would help in a natural crisis.  They then had to explain how their robot would be able to help in a Natural Disaster situation either during or after the event.

 This year they are teaming up with the Girl Scouts of the U.S., who will join the rest of the Lego League in building and competing in a regional, state, national, and world competition.

 Ratliff said because the work that goes into creating these robots is time-intensive they have set up the group so each member must attend a number of practices in order to be a part of the group.

Blake Warman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]