MGA School of Education & Behavioral Sciences Gets Ready to Host 5th FIRST LEGO League Challenge

Dr. David Biek calls it “the most insane thing ever.” 

What else would you get when you turn loose more than 200 kids from area middle and elementary schools onto a robotics competition, LEGO building contest, and science fair all rolled into one?

“Instant insanity and chaos,” Biek said, “but so much fun.”

We’re talking, of course, about the regional tournament of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge, hosted on the Macon Campus almost every December since 2018 by Middle Georgia State University’s School of Education & Behavioral Sciences (SEBS). The idea to host a regional tournament of the world-renowned competition originated with Biek, the school’s dean, 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).

“In 2018 I was a new dean trying to figure out an interdisciplinary way to get all the academic units in the school together,” Biek said. “The LEGO competition is a true STEAM event, so I saw it as a tentpole that a lot of people could rally around.”

The first MGA-hosted regional tournament in 2018 drew a dozen teams from middle and elementary schools around the area and at least that many University faculty members, mostly from SEBS, who volunteered to be competition judges or help out in other ways.

This year, Biek expects 24 teams to compete at the Saturday, Dec. 10, tournament on the Macon Campus and another 12 on Saturday, Dec. 17, at a newly added site – MGA’s Dublin Campus.

“We’re very excited we were able to expand to an additional site this year,” Biek said. “It fills a geographic gap in competition and gives more kids the chance to participate.”

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A FIRST LEGO League Challenge team at a previous year's regional tournament held at MGA. (Image: Dr. David Biek)