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Local teams prepare robots for new year

CARLSBAD — For many the end of the year is a time to reflect on the past. But for some local students, it has been a time to look to the future, as they prepare to take their winning robots to the next round of competition.
More than 700 students from area schools, a total of 102 teams, competed in a recent two-day, high-energy robotics competition held at Legoland California.
In the end, the Park Village Masterminds team from San Diego took second place in the Los Angeles Championship tournament held on Dec. 7, and the Sandy Lego Beachbots, from Mission Beach, took first place in the Southern California tournament held the day before.
Both San Diego County teams are now preparing to join other teams from around the world in the next round of competition at the FIRST World Festival, to be held in April in Atlanta, Ga.
FIRST, or For Inspiration Recognition of Science and Technology, is a nonprofit organization that has teamed up with the Lego League, to form the FIRST Lego League, a series of competitions held in 40 countries, with a total of more than 13,500 total teams.
With the theme “climate connections,” the teams explored the growing questions surrounding climate conditions, such as greenhouse gasses, wildlife and preparation for the world’s ever-changing climate conditions.
The teams programmed their robots to explore the growing questions around climate, officials with Legoland California said.
Contestants were judged in four categories — project presentation, robot performance, technical design and teamwork.
Officials said the teams had eight weeks to use science and technology to build their robots, program them and to test them on an obstacle course.
Every year since it opened 10 years ago, Legoland California has been the host site for the local FIRST Lego League Tournament competition.
“It brings together learning and imagination and fun in the way that we strive to do every day here in the park,” Beth Downing, spokeswoman for Legoland California, said. “Each year the event gets bigger and better than before as FIRST grows into an international powerhouse of learning.”