About 70 children attended an open house at Uplands

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Dozens of fourth- to eighth-grade students attended an open house intended to attract young people interested in forming robotics teams.A volunteer-led Science Technology Engineering and Math Academy could open in the vacant Uplands Elementary School building.

The creation of new competitive robotics teams in the works this month in Lake Oswego is part of the burgeoning academy initiative.

A robotics open house was held at the school on Aug. 4 aimed at students interested in participating in robotics teams in the fall, said Bob Heymann, one of the event organizers. The event drew 70 students from grades four to eight.

“Historically, robotics teams in LO have been started as friend or neighborhood groups, and have met in somebody’s living room,”Heymann said. “With the availability of classroom and lab space in the vacated Uplands facility, we can provide a more accessible opportunity for students and parent volunteers to get involved.” 

The open house sponsor was FIRST Lego League, a robotics program for youths and the product of an alliance between New Hampshire-based STEM advocate FIRST and Lego Group, the Billund, Denmark-based company that makes SUBMITTED PHOTO - A STEM academy could be coming to Uplands Elementary School, and students got the chance to visit the school at an open house this month.

Heymann said FIRST Lego League teams “compete in a worldwide structure similar to a youth sports league.”

Teams construct robots and put together research presentations for regional tournaments held in December.

“Along the way, they learn about engineering design, programming, research methods, project management and ‘gracious professionalism,’ FIRST’s term for working effectively with teammates, coaches and mentors in a collaborative environment,” Heymann said.

First Lego League’s North American Open Championship Tournament will be in May at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, Calif.

There’s room at Uplands for the robotics teams because the Lake Oswego School Board chose to close three out of nine elementary schools within the past two years to address a budget shortfall. Palisades Elementary School closed two years ago, and the district closed Uplands and Bryant elementary schools last year. The district repurposed Bryant as an extension of Lakeridge Junior High School to accommodate sixth-graders who, as of last school year, attended junior high instead of elementary school.

The school board has not decided which schools will remain closed. A real estate study, to be ready in early 2014, will include an assessment of the value of school buildings. The results will influence the board’s decisions on which schools to operate.


Learn more

Lake Oswego residents are on top of global trends: The world market for consumer robots was $1.6 billion last year and is expected to jump to $6.5 billion in 2017, according to ABI Research, a market intelligence company.

For more information about FIRST Lego League, visit

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