Local LEGO team headed to Western Canadian Championship

A team of students from Southridge Elementary School are headed to the First LEGO League Western Canadian Championships in Victoria on Feb. 16.

The 18 Grade 6 and Grade 7 students from the school's LEGO robotics club will be demonstrating their LEGO skills by building, programing and competing with autonomous robots made from the plastic building bricks, a press release issued by School Distict 57 said.

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"We need to build a robot that can complete challenges, and there's also a huge research component," Southridge teacher Dominic O'Driscoll said. "They are given a theme every year and students need to investigate some sort of real-life engineering problem (and develop ideas) on how to solve it."

This year's theme is "City Shaper." The league provides the materials and challenges in advance, and during the competition the teams from across Western Canada will compete against each other to accumulate points based on their level of success.

"This is really fun," Grade 7 student Mason Meise said. "I've learned how to come and build different things. I would say (the challenges) are pretty difficult."

In addition to the 12 students competing on the robotics challenge, six students are taking part in the research competition. The two topics students are looking at environmentally-sustainable commercial construction and the issue of homelessness and drug addiction in Prince George.

"We're trying to design a super-sustainable building, just a blueprint, and then any company or business can take it and they can modify it to however fits their needs," Grade 6 student Shayne Petch said. "We're trying to think of ways to make it sustainable that fits our climate, being that it's often very cold in the winter."

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