400 youth participants to engage in First State Robotics' 'FIRST' LEGO League Robotics Championship Tournament with natural disaster response themes at New Castle Air National Guard Base Feb. 15

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On Saturday, February 15, the Delaware Air National Guard's main aircraft hangar will be the venue for the day-long 2013-2014 First State Robotics, Inc. 'FIRST' LEGO League Robotics Championship Tournament and Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo.

Up to 400 young people will attend from teams in the five states of Del., Pa., N.J., Md. and Va. This includes 32 teams of middle school-aged youth with eight-10 children per team, and 26 teams of elementary school-aged youth with about six youth per team. In some cases there are multiple teams coming from a single school or organization. FLL teams have advanced from qualifiers held over the past two months.

Doors open: 8:00 a.m. Opening ceremonies: 10:00 a.m. End time: 5:00 p.m. Location: Delaware Air National Guard main hangar, New Castle Air National Guard base, 2600 Spruance Drive, New Castle, Del., 19720. The event is open to the public. Note: snow date is Sunday Feb. 16.

The FIRST LEGO League challenge for this year is Nature's Fury. FLL teams will use their wits with LEGO bricks and robotics to handle simulated natural disasters such as an earthquake, flood, hurricane, storm, tsunami, wildfire, volcanic eruption, tornado or cyclone, avalanche or landslide. FLL teams will discover what can be done when intense natural events meet the places people live, work, and play. One scenario will involve a natural disaster affecting a runway and an aircraft.

Jr. FLL is focused on building an interest in science and engineering in young children around the world. In this year's challenge, Disaster Blaster, they will explore how to prepare for, be safe during, and recover from a natural disaster. They will share what they learned by building a model with a simple machine, and creating a Show-Me- Poster.

Delaware National Guard troops will be attending with displays that showcase military technology and robotics.

"The competition showcases all the best of LEGO bricks and robotics and the excitement of kids applying STEM - science, technology, engineering and math - wrapped up in an atmosphere of science and the NCAA Basketball Finals, with high energy music in the background,' said Lou Rosanio, First State FIRST LEGO League Director. "One of the goals of the competition is to help facilitate kids going from users of robotics, to designers of robotics."

Major Gen. Frank Vavala, adjutant general, Delaware National Guard, said, "The themes of 'Nature's Fury' and 'Disaster Blaster' in this year's competition perfectly fit the National Guard, because on any day our Airmen and Soldiers may be called to duty to help citizens of our state, nation or world respond when a natural disaster threatens. We are also a technology-intensive organization, so we appreciate the kinds of problem-solving that these youth will engage in while facing a simulated natural disaster."

Nature's Fury FLL Event Schedule:

7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Team Check-in
7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Judges Meeting
8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Coaches Meeting
9:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. Judging Rounds
10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Opening Ceremonies
10:50 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Robot Performance
12:25 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch
4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Awards Presentation

Disaster Blaster Jr. FLL Event Schedule:

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Team Check-in
9:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. JFLL Reviewing
9:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Peer Review
10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Opening Ceremonies
12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. JFLL Awards Ceremony
Lunch is fit into schedule by each team

FIRST National Advisor Dr. Woodie Flowers will be in attendance. Dr. Flowers is the Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Distinguished Partner at Olin College. Dr. Flowers participates in the design of the FIRST Robotics Competition game each year. He has served as a National Advisor to FIRST since the inception of the FIRST Robotics Competition (in 1992).

The First State FIRST LEGO League has grown from a six team event in its inaugural year of 2001 to over 150 teams a year, with multiple events in Del., eastern Pa. and southern N.J. Since 2001 over 15,000 students have been involved. For more information, visit www.fsrobotics.org.

FIRST LEGO League is designed to provide middle school children with an age-appropriate version of the FIRST experience. While the core activity is technological innovation, FIRST is a multidisciplinary activity engaging all academic disciplines in a school-based robotics "enterprise." In addition to exposing young people to the possibilities of science, technology, and engineering, FIRST promotes community service, good sportsmanship, and "gracious professionalism," which means treating even opponents with respect and taking responsibility for improving one's community and introducing others to the value of science, technology, and engineering. These values are espoused in the FIRST materials and are also encouraged through the structure of the game and system of awards. For more information, visit www.firstlegoleague.org/.

FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology
, was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. FLL's mission is to inspire youngsters around the world to use their creativity and engage in hands-on and minds-on activities. For more information, visit www.usfirst.org, or, www.facebook.com/pages/FIRST-For-Inspiration-and-Recognition-of-Science-and-Technology/184063051616518.

The Delaware Air National Guard has 1,100 members, and continually deploys personnel and subordinate units around the globe.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

Delaware Air National Guard: Celebrating our 68th year of Citizen-Airman service to our state and nation, 1946-2014

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