Montana State University

MSU to host robotics competitions for Montana youth

January 24, 2017 -- MSU News Service

Students from Montana, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming test their robots against each other in the annual Montana State University College of Engineering First Robotics championship. Photo courtesy of MSU College of Engineering.

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN - Montana State University will hold robotics competitions for Montana youth on Jan. 27-28.

The Montana FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions are hosted by MSU's College of Engineering. The events, at Shroyer Gym on the MSU campus, are free and open to the public.

FIRST LEGO League teams, composed of students grades 4-8, have spent months building and programming animal-themed robots made from Lego kits, and will compete by performing "missions" on pool table-sized playing fields. FIRST Tech Challenge contestants, from grades 7-12, compete with more complex robots in a larger arena.

This year's competitions at MSU are expected to draw over a hundred teams from across the state, making this year's FIRST events the largest in Montana to date. Teams from small, rural towns including Fort Benton, Wyola, Nashua and Ronan are among those who will attend.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization designed to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology, to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, and to encourage team-building, imagination and critical thinking skills.

Initially orchestrated by the Montana Space Grant Consortium and now organized through the College of Engineering, MSU has been involved with the Montana chapter of FIRST for more than a decade.

The Tech Challenge runs Friday, Jan. 27, 7:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., with championship rounds 4:45-6:15 p.m. The LEGO League event runs Saturday, Jan. 28, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with competition rounds 12:50-5:15 p.m. A detailed schedule for both events can be found at

Winners from both tournaments will advance to FIRST regional competitions.

Christine Foreman, College of Engineering dean's office, (406) 994-2272 or

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