Kids overcome a creative block

Sidney Tester of the Boogy Bots pensively adjusts her robot as her teammates and the audience dance Gangnam style behind her. They shout – "three, two, one, Lego!" – and the 12th International First Lego League challenge begins.

About 170 children aged between 8 and 16 gathered in the gymnasium of Narrabeen Sports High School on Tuesday to build robots using the world's most famous toy blocks and to compete for a place in the First Lego League World Festival next April.

The children, who competed in teams, also came up with ideas for products to assist the elderly.

The director of the First Lego League, Luan Heimlich, said the competition was a practical way to encourage students to study science throughout high school and into university.

"First Lego League is a great way to get those interested in science and technology to be excited about what they are doing," Ms Heimlich said.

"You see children from countries around the world coming together and eliminating political, economic and social boundaries to enjoy and compete... It is a competition, but it is also a celebration of science and technology."

For Sidney, the day was more about fun than her potential future as a scientist.

"I really enjoy my time here and have a lot of fun," she said. "My team's hologram and robot projects make me have to figure out how things work and work on my maths skills to move on to the next part of the competition."

This story Kids overcome a creative block first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.