MGA School of Education & Behavioral Sciences Gets Ready To Host 6th FIRST LEGO League Challenge

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Wednesday, October 4, 2023 12:00 AM
Categories: Events- Public | Faculty/Staff | Pressroom | School of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Macon, GA


Middle Georgia State University (MGA) is gearing up to host, for the sixth time, the FIRST LEGO League Challenge on December 2 and 9.

This international competition for “challenge teams” of elementary and middle-school students created by an organization called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. According to FIRST’s website, teams are introduced to a scientific and real-world challenge to focus and research on.

“It’s a robotics competition, LEGO building contest, and science fair rolled into one,” said Dr. David Biek, dean of MGA’s School of Education & Behavioral Sciences, which hosts the event on the Macon and Dublin campuses. “Attendees have had a blast in previous years, and this year will be no different. MGA has 36 teams from school districts around the region already registered for this year's tournament.”

The robotics part of the competition involves designing and programming LEGO Education robots to complete tasks. The students also work out a solution to a problem related to a given theme (that changes every year) and then meet for regional, national, and international tournaments to compete, share their knowledge, compare ideas, and display their robots. FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams may use "any LEGO-made building parts in their original factory conditionto construct their robots. The robots are programmed using any language allowing autonomous movement.

The idea for MGA to host a regional tournament of the world-renowned competition originated with Biek, who saw it as a way to expose middle- and elementary-school students, along with their parents and teachers, to the “gem” that is Middle Georgia State University. MGA hosted its first competition in 2018. In 2022, two of the teams (from Monroe County and Houston County schools) that competed at MGA ended up winning the No. 1 and No. 2 slots at the state championship.

In Georgia, the affiliate partner for FIRST LEGO League is Georgia Tech. The Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) facilitates the program and operates the state championship each year. CEISMC provides logistical and some financial support for the hosts (such as MGA) of regional tournaments in the state.

“Georgia has the most teams and most participants in the entire country,” Biek said. The event “is so popular in Georgia that the leadership (CEISMC) is considering splitting the state in two” for the purposes of competition.

The Macon Campus competition is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. The Dublin Campus competition is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. Biek is now recruiting MGA students, faculty, and staff who are interested in volunteering at the event at either location. (Free food for volunteers!)

“This is a great way to get involved with our youth and to foster name recognition for our University,” Biek said.

Volunteers can register at