Edison Intermediate/Middle School's eighth-grade FIRST Lego Robotics Club team is preparing for the state competition.

Edison Intermediate/Middle School's eighth-grade FIRST Lego Robotics Club team is preparing for the state competition.

The team qualified for the state competition after placing second last month in the First Lego League regional tournament. This marks the third consecutive year the team has qualified for the state tournament.

The squad will be competing against nearly 50 teams from across Ohio in the state tournament, which will be held Feb. 14-15 at the Nutter Center in Dayton.

The theme of this year's Lego League program is "climate connection."

Lego League teams must build robots using Lego pieces to perform specified tasks. In this year's competition, the robot is asked to perform 18 tasks relating to the theme on a "challenge field," a kind of obstacle course set up on a table top mat.

The tasks for this year's competition include constructing levees, raising a flood barrier and moving a polar bear and/or snowmobile to a polar research area.

The robot has 2 ? minutes to perform all 18 tasks, said Leah Houser, who coaches the team with Mark Woodhouse.

"It's quite a challenge," Houser said. "Few robots can successfully complete all of the tasks in such a short amount of time. It gets really intense."

School squads are judged during competition for their teamwork, the design and performance of their robot and on a research presentation relating to the "climate connection" theme, she said.

The eighth-grade team researched how trees and plants affect people with allergies, Woodhouse said.

The students found there are about 100 varieties of trees in the Grandview area that can trigger allergies, he said.

The team will be meeting with Grandview parks and recreation director Sean Robey and city arborist Mike McKee to discuss their findings, Woodhouse said.

Members of the team said they're looking forward to participating in the state tournament.

"It's just going to be a lot of fun to get to go to Dayton, stay in a hotel and just hang out," Chad Carter said. "I think our robot has a good chance to do pretty well."

Taylor Woodhouse said she enjoys the challenge of trying to design a robot that can complete all the assigned tasks.

"Every year there's a potential problem that crops up that you didn't expect," said Woodhouse, who has participated in the Lego League robotics team since fourth grade.

"If our robot has a downfall this year, it might be that it can go too fast and start to skid," Abby Riggs said.

The competition, where the robot must perform its tasks in 150 seconds, is fun and tense, she said.

"You have to know what you're doing so you don't freak out if something goes wrong," Riggs said. "I always feel tired after the competition, like a weight's off my shoulders. But it's fun."

Other members of the eighth-grade team are Kyle Modlich, Anna Davis, Alex Cochran, Julie Menke, Chance Douglass, Andy McCauley and Luke Snider.

Edison has seven Lego League Robotics teams, with students in all grade levels participating, Houser said.

The eighth-grade team "is a smart group of kids who enjoy a challenge," she said. "A lot of the kids have been involved in Lego League since fourth grade, and having a veteran team helps.