elementary students working on a Lego project

Elementary and middle school students will show off their technical skills and problem-solving abilities at the FIRST LEGO League Challenge Texas area qualifier tournament from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Cole STEM Building’s Nelson Atrium.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The STEM Research and Learning Center at Stephen F. Austin State University will host the FIRST LEGO League Challenge East Texas area qualifier tournament from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Cole STEM Building’s Nelson Atrium.

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, is an international youth organization that operates several competitions, including the upcoming FIRST LEGO League. This LEGO-based challenge introduces science, technology, engineering and mathematics to elementary and middle school students through fun hands-on learning. Participants gain real-world problem-solving experience through a guided, global robotics program, helping today's students and teachers build a better future together.

“FIRST LEGO League gives students the opportunity to learn and practice a variety of skills from coding and teamwork to research and communication,” said Corina Rivera, K-12 outreach coordinator for SFA’s STEM Research and Learning Center. “This year, we are excited to host teams from local school districts as well as teams traveling from Houston.”

Teams will navigate LEGO Mindstorm and Spike robots through themed missions, demonstrating their technical skills and problem-solving abilities. As part of the league’s season, students have tackled real-world challenges through research, teamwork and the presentation of their innovative solutions.


Stephen F. Austin State University, the newest member of The University of Texas System, began a century ago as a teachers’ college in Texas’ oldest town, Nacogdoches. Today, it has grown into a regional institution comprising six colleges — business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SFA enrolls approximately 11,000 students while providing the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. The main campus encompasses 421 acres that include 37 academic facilities, nine residence halls, and 68 acres of recreational trails that wind through its six gardens. The university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees covering more than 120 areas of study. Learn more at the SFA website