BOROUGHWIDE — With their own personalized LEGO robots at hand, kids from across the borough met at Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch on Saturday to participate in the final competition of a local robotics league.
For 12 weeks, kids and teens ranging in age from 9 to 17 met at 13 library branches across Brooklyn to learn the basics of robotics as part of the Brooklyn Robotics League. Under the theme of ‘City Shaper,’ the young Brooklynites built hand-held robots out of LEGOs and used a block coding language to program them to accomplish drawn out missions in an urban environment.
The final competition brought eager participants from Sheepshead Bay to Bushwick to test their skills in tasks such as clearing scaled-down traffic jams, activating elevators and building various city elements.
“It’s a fabulous experience … to see how much the kids have improved. They’re having a blast and we love it just for getting kids the experience with STEM activities,” said Jeff Paules, community engagement manager with NYC FIRST, the group partnering with the library to foster the league.
NYC FIRST runs robotics leagues and science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, programs throughout the city. This is the fourth year the robotics league has been hosted by BPL.
The league, which held two semi-final competitions in the week leading up to the finals, is a way to not only get kids involved in physical building, but to stretch their mental capacities to help give them more career options, Paules said.
Saturday’s competition hosted three rounds for each team to have the opportunity to get the highest score. Scores were based on completion of missions and technicalities like whether contenders touched their robots in the middle of a mission, a move that would dock them points.
With a score of 305 in round two, the first place trophy went to the Kings Bay Robot Builders from Sheepshead Bay. Second place went to the Gravesend Dnesevarg and third to the Homecrest Brooklyn Legends.
Kings Bay will be able to display the trophy in their branch throughout the year and all three winning teams will advance to a citywide championship in March.
Tensions flared throughout the competition, as contest participants had no control of their robots after they started out on their missions.
About two to three contenders from each team participated at once during the rounds.
A large crowd gathered in the lobby of the Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch to watch the competition.
A team celebrates at the end of a round.
The Kings Bay Robot Builders took first place with a high score of 305. Scores are measured by referees based on performance carrying out missions on the playing board.
The Kings Bay team will get to display the winning trophy in their library throughout the year.