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First Lego League Robotics Explore offered
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First Lego League Robotics Explore offered

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Emily Kanupp and Luke Kanupp create a building with a moving elevator as they explore the Boomtown Challenge that is featured with the First LEGO  League Explore program. The program is offered at several Catawba County branch libraries in partnership with 4-H and STEM West for the 2021-22 school year. Emily Kanupp is also the leader of the Amazing Circuits 4-H Robotics Club.

NEWTON — First LEGO League Robotics Explore will be offered at several Catawba County Library branch locations throughout the 2021-22 school year for youth in second grade through fourth grade.

The 10-week series will be offered at St. Stephens Library on Monday afternoons from 4:30-5:30 p.m., starting Oct. 11 and continuing through Dec. 13. Youth can apply to be part of the program by completing an online application at https://go.ncsu.edu/libraryrobotics. Space is limited and youth selected to attend will be notified. Those selected will need to enroll using the 4-H Online to complete their registration.

Other library locations where the program will be available include Newton and Southwest libraries, with the program scheduled to start in January at the Newton library. The program is offered as a partnership between Catawba County library system, 4-H, and STEM West. This partnership and grant support from STEM West enables organizers to offer this robotics program at no cost for selected youth.

A team of library staff and adult and teen volunteers with 4-H will be leading the series at each library location. The library and 4-H volunteers participated in training in early August where they learned about LEGO robotics and the Boomtown First LEGO kit, which will be featured this year at library programs. Each year, First LEGO League Explore releases a challenge and accompanying kit that lets youth explore the fundamentals of engineering, and explore a real-world problem, as they design, code, and create a solution with powered LEGO bricks. The Boomtown challenge allows youth to take on the role of town planner and create their ideal model town from LEGO bricks while exploring durability, sustainability, and accessibility.

According to Donna Mull, Catawba County 4-H agent, this is a great community partnership that will let elementary youth explore robotics and builds on programs currently offered by 4-H and the library system. For the past five years, 4-H has offered a robotics club using EV3 robots. 4-H encourages teens to step into teaching roles to build their leadership skills with adult-youth partnerships. First LEGO League Explore will pair teens with adults who will teach or assist with the program at each library location.

The library regularly offers STEM outreach programs and offers technology resources available for check-out to the public. The LEGO kits have been provided through a grant from STEM West, which has the mission of supporting and advocating for STEM education with workforce and community partners.

Every effort will be made to offer the program in a COVID-19-safe manner and guidelines may impact the program through the next few months. Based on library guidelines, all youth and adults attending library programs are expected to wear masks and group size will be limited.

For more information about First LEGO League Robotics Explore or other 4-H STEM programs, contact Donna Mull, 4-H Agent, at donna_mull@ncsu.edu or call 828-465-8240. 4-H is a volunteer-led youth development program offered Cooperative Extension.

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