Teams from the Dublin and New Albany-Plain Local school districts will be among those taking part in an annual state robotics competition this weekend.

Dublin's Techno Storm, 8-Two-Automate and AlGeBrOCCoLi and New Albany's Lego Lords will compete in the Ohio FIRST Lego League Championship on Saturday, Feb. 3, and Sunday, Feb. 4, at Wright State University near Dayton. The teams qualified for the state competition Jan. 20 at a district tournament at Licking Valley High School.

The teams are graded on a project they had to complete on hydrodynamics, said Jennifer Glaubitz, vice president of the FIRST Lego League Dublin Robotics Boosters. Students also built robots they program to compete in a game, Glaubitz said. Teamwork is part of the scoring process.

Although the robot game adds an element of sports-like competition to the program, students learn a variety of science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts, Glaubitz said.

"It just really engages them in a period of time where studies have shown that students start to lose interest (in those STEM fields)," she said.

Nishant Chittari, a New Albany High School senior and mentor to the Lego Lords, said his team is excited to compete and see what other teams have been working on for the past five months.

"We are excited to share our passion and knowledge about the research project and our robot with other teams," said Chittari, 17. "We hope to perform to our fullest potential, which is our ultimate goal."

AlGeBrOCCoLi is composed primarily of John Sells Middle School students and 8-Two-Automate features students from Sells, Willard Grizzell and Henry Karrer middle schools and Glacier Ridge Elementary School, Glaubitz said. Techno Storm features students from Grizzell.

Teams competing at the state level have an opportunity to qualify for the FIRST World Championship from April 25 through 28 in Detroit, the national championship May 18 through 20 in Carlsbad, California, or the Razorback Invitational from May 17 through 20 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Glaubitz said.

The FIRST (which is an acronym of the phrase For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League is a program that immerses children ages 9 to14 in real-world science and technology challenges, according to a release from the organization. Teams design and build Lego robots to perform a series of missions that solve a scientific problem.

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