NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Norwich University will host the fifth annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Vermont State Championship an all-day event beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Shapiro Fieldhouse.

FIRST® LEGO® League, founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen, and open to 9-to-14-year-old students worldwide, aims to inspire children in science and technology through the use of robotics. Teams are tasked with researching a real-world scientific issue and designing and building an original robot.

This year’s theme is CITY SHAPERSM. Teams will innovate in the vast expanse of sustainable communities, exploring questions related to building a better world. William F. Lyons Jr. ’90, a licensed professional engineer, a licensed attorney, a licensed planner, a licensed real estate broker and a senior fellow in Norwich University’s Center on Global Resilience and Security, will give opening remarks to begin the day.

Norwich University established the state’s regional FIRST LEGO League affiliate beginning in 2013, hosting regional qualifiers, and  hosting the state championship event beginning in 2015.

FIRST LEGO League Vermont Championship participants crowd around a table before a robotics event in 2015. Norwich University will host the fifth annual rendition of the championships this weekend on its Northfield, Vt., campus. (Photo by Mark Collier.)

The Norwich event on Dec. 8 marks the fifth year of an independent FLL region in Vermont. With 26 teams of up to 10 students each, coaches and parents, there will be much to see throughout the day. Spectators are encouraged to attend.

Also, seven Junior FLL teams of elementary school-aged students will exhibit work related to the challenge at an unofficial showcase.

Using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies, student teams showcase the results of weeks of intense preparation as they deploy their robots to complete thematic challenges in autonomous robot matches. Teams connect with their local and global communities by using critical thinking, creativity and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts to create and present innovative solutions to real-world challenges.

Events are scheduled throughout the day:

  • Preregistered team arrival | 8 a.m.
  • Opening remarks | 9 a.m.
  • Judged events start | 9:40 a.m.
  • Robot matches start | 12:30 p.m.
  • Robot matches conclude | 3:30 p.m. (approximately)
  • Awards ceremony | 4:15 p.m. (approximately)

Throughout the day, spectators are welcome to campus. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-focused exhibits and demos from high school robotics teams (FTC) will be available at the event throughout the morning.

Opening and closing ceremonies, and robot matches, take place at Shapiro Field House. Event highlights include team presentations to judges on their robot design choices and on their innovative solution to a sustainable community-themed challenge. Teams also complete challenges during the event to demonstrate their ability to work as a group — an important component of the competition.

Although the robots often attract the most attention, a key aspect of the FLL program is its Core Values, which, according to its website, “are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FLL from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.”

The Norwich University team of volunteers staging this event thanks its sponsors: Casella Waste Systems; GlobalFoundries; Rock of Ages; Vermont Electric Power Co. (VELCO); Northfield Savings Bank; and Vermont Mutual Insurance.

Team presentations begin at 9:40 a.m. and continue through 12:30 p.m. Robot matches begin at 12:30 p.m. and run throughout the rest of the event. The day will conclude with an awards ceremony around 4:15 p.m.

For more information, email the FLL team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call (802) 485-2276. Event results will be posted here:

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Daphne Larkin
Office of Communications
Norwich University
Northfield, Vt.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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