A Saturday afternoon. The University of Utah. A parade of teams. Hundreds of screaming fans. Fierce competition.

No, it’s not your favorite basketball players or gymnasts battling for a title at the Huntsman Center. Instead, hundreds of 9- to 14-year-olds will show off their robotics and programming skills in the Student Union during the Utah FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League championship.

The program, which uses LEGO robots, is headquartered at the U’s Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The Lassonde Institute organizes the program to promote an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship among Utah children.

“The students who compete in FIRST LEGO League are our future inventors, scientists and business leaders,” says Anne Bastien, the Utah operational partner for FIRST LEGO League and a program manager at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “Through this program, they learn how to solve challenging real-world problems using creativity and teamwork. They also gain the motivation to pursue a meaningful education and career path.”

The students must use an autonomous robot they programmed to complete sets of challenges and tasks, all while exemplifying values such as “what we learn is more important than what we win” and “gracious professionalism.”

Sponsors for the current season include: the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, Utah STEM Action Center, Boart Longyear, Ut