Kids aged nine to 14 are invited to join Oceanside First Lego League Competitive Robotics team for 2018/19 championship season starting Oct. 20. This year’s theme is space. - Youtube screenshot

Lego League robotics program available for kids in PQB

JunioTech Kids Academy has partnered with a Parksville engineer for the 12-week course

Children aged nine to 14 in Parksville and Qualicum Beach have the opportunity to be a part of a brand new robotics team.

The Calgary-based JunioTech Kids Academy has partnered with Parksville engineer and active member of the maker community Chris Morrissey to bring the First Lego League Competitive Robotics team to the area for 2018-19 championship season.

The 12-week course, beginning Oct. 20, is open to 10 kids eager to take part in a STEM- based program. And to learn about robots, of course. The pilot-program will take place in the Oceanside Community Makerspace, 133 McMillan St.

Related: New Parksville club provides space for hobbyists and artisans

Teams can take part in Canadian and international competitions, with the first one being in Victoria in February.

“It is a program where kids are given the task to solve a bunch of Lego missions,” Morrissey said. “This year it’s themed around space exploration so you’re supposed to send an astronaut up a space elevator or you’re supposed to put an astronaut into an air-tight sealing chamber.”

Teams are given an “impossibly large amount of missions to complete,” Morrissey said, that are up to the students to plan and conquer.

“[The children] first start seeing what components are needed, so they create a plan, a strategy and eventually once they think that strategy will work they will try to build a robot that can implement that strategy,” Morrissey said. “And lastly they then have to program it. It’s a quite evolved critical analyzing, as well as team building, process before you can get to the point where you can solve a lot of these missions.”

In addition to team building, First Lego League is aimed to teach children about innovation, inclusion, discovery, creativity and adaptation.

“The main aspect the kids will take from this program is the technical aspect,” Morrissey said. “There is the design, building and testing of the robots, that’s one of the main reasons they sign up for the program. There will be a very big team, fun, creative mentorship building experience also.”

The idea for Lego League came to Morrissey through a conversation with a parent of one of the kids in his free robot program already running on weekends at the Makerspace.

“It was kind of a fluke that it happened,” Morrissey said.

“I met a parent who had moved from Calgary and he mentioned that his son was really looking into registering into more science or STEM-based after school programs and in his views the options were really limited. He mentioned JunioTech so I basically contacted them directly about it and they were just as excited to bring this to Parksville as I was.”

The Oceanside Community Makerspace is excited to support Morrissey in teaching young kids how to work with Lego EV3 robots in the world-wide competitive program.

“[Morrissey] will be working closely with a well established group based in Calgary — JunioTech Kids Academy. Having a track record of being very successful teaching students to win at these competitive events, they are offering to mentor and support Chris, in an effort to help the spread of these necessary skills across Canada, starting here in the Parksville area,” said Makerspace co-ordinator John Eyre.

“OC Makerspace and Chris have agreed to include an OCM membership for the students that sign up to the 12-week course. This will allow for the use of the Makerspace extended facilities.”

For more information and to register, visit or contact Morrissey at

Just Posted

Motorcyclist collides with bear in Coombs

The man was transported to hospital

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Parksville volunteer hits her $10,000 target

LeMoine raises funds for Camp Goodtimes

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

‘A little odd’ B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

Most Read