This weekend, the FIRST Lego League teams will be competing in the Regional Lego Robotics tournament.

The sixth annual Minot Regional Lego Robotics Tournament is hosted by local nonprofit Full STEAM Ahead. Last year, the competition was virtual because of the pandemic, and this year, it’s back in person.

“We made it happen last year virtually, which was good because the teams needed it, they need that endpoint of a tournament,” said Allison Auch, executive director of Full STEAM Ahead. “So we were happy to offer that, but in person, getting in the gym and having the robots running, the teams interacting, talking to one another, meeting kids from different cities.”

Some students have done the competition before.

“For regionals, I’ve been in it for three years,” said sixth-grader Calvin Olson.

And others are new.

“This is my first year,” said fourth-grader Mackenzie Caskie.

The students build and program robots to perform different tasks for the tournament.

“We’re doing an engine flip so you have to flip over the engine,” said Caskie. “And we’re also doing the bridge where you knock over the two sides. and we’re doing an innovation circle. It’s where we have a block and you have to put it in the innovation circle.”

One student even wants to apply what he’s learning now to his future job.

“It can teach you about things such as coding for SpaceX,” said Olson. “That’s personally what I wanna grow up to be, a person who codes how the thing flies up into the air and then how the thing lands on its own little pad.”

In addition to building robots, the students are also building relationships.

You get to talk to new kids and new people and then you also get to work together and work on the robot and then you can put ideas into it,” said sixth-grader Helen Kamba.

The tournament will be held Saturday, Jan. 15 from 1-3 p.m. at Swain Hall on Minot State University’s campus.

The public is invited to watch it for free.