Members of the “Straight Outta the Blox” STEAM Team from Port St. Joe Elementary School took home first place for its research presentation during the First LEGO Challenge regional competition held over the weekend in Niceville.

Members of the “Straight Outta the Blox” STEAM Team from Port St. Joe Elementary School took home first place for its research presentation during the First LEGO Challenge regional competition held over the weekend in Niceville.

The team, consisting of seventh-grader Philip Riley, sixth-graders Megan Saleh, Lauren Woosley, Kadin Swiney, Ricky Forbes-Rosado, Caleb Zur Heiden and fifth-grader Gabriella Price qualified for the competition after placing in the top half at last month’s challenge in Bay County.

During the challenges, students program robots built from LEGO to complete a series of tasks while also researching a problem found in their hometown while also presenting a solution. Straight Outta the Blox’s research assignment showed judges how to eliminate plastic bag waste, preventing it from ending up in the St. Joseph Bay where it could harm existing ecosystems.

The LEGO Challenge teaches students critical thinking, team work and computer programming while combining the core STEAM areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math in the classroom.

Students participating in the STEAM LEGO program will attending another friendly tournament over the summer for practice before going on hiatus and picking back up next school year.

Next year’s LEGO Challenge theme will be “Animal Allies.”