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Students across West Tennessee compete in FIRST LEGO League championship

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — LEGO loving students gathered Saturday at the University of Memphis to compete in robotic games.

FIRST (“For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”) LEGO League is a robotics competition for students in grades 4 through 8.

Special Education teacher Chris Stallings of Barret's Chapel Elementary School is one of the coaches of the many who attended.

"Oh yeah, I think they said they are up to 50 teams here today, up to ten kids on each team," Stallings said.

Stallings said the teams receive their LEGO robotics in August along with the year's theme.

This year it was hydrodynamics.

"So kids have to think of a way to save water, a new invention," Stallings said.

Students don't have to enjoy coding or robotics to join the club.

Fourth-grader Jayden Kainsey says he ended up designing his team's shirts.

"There is a place for everybody on the teams," Stallings said.

One part of the competition consists of putting together a presentation on their core values, where they tell the judges how they worked together.

The second part of the competition is the robotics, where the robot must leave from a starting position, finish a set of challenges and return to the starting position without errors and within the time limit.

Finally, they do a presentation on the theme and how they would address it.

Photojournalist Ian Ripple contributed to this report.

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