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Lego League Kids get to play and learn with CATT Lab Technology

Lego League Kids get to play and learn with CATT Lab Technology

CATT Lab Director Michael L. Pack (right) with
CATT Lab Director Michael L. Pack (right) with "Team Stormers" of the FIRST Lego League during their visit

During a recent visit to the Center for Advanced Transportation Laboratory (CATT Lab) at the University of Maryland members of “Team Stormers” got firsthand experience “playing” with some of the cool tools developed at the CATT Lab while learning about transportation modeling and safety.

Team Stormers is a part of the FIRST Lego League (FLL) with members ranging in ages from 9 to 14 year olds. The FLL introduces young students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their own imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities, and through the process learn to make positive contributions to society.   The theme of this year’s FLL competition was “Smart Move” which includes developing innovative solutions to transportation engineering, safety, security, and sustainability problems.  Team Stormers is focusing on solving difficult challenges associated with traffic flow and safety issues in and out of their busy Mosque.

CATT Lab Director Michael L. Pack provided insight into transportation modeling, traffic engineering principles, and overall guidance on how to tackle transportation data collection and analysis.  “These future engineers asked some incredibly insightful questions,” said Pack.  “It’s clear that they are excited about their project, and that they have really ‘done their homework.’  I was very impressed!” 

Pack also gave the students an in-depth look at current advanced transportation research projects underway at the CATT Lab and how the tools developed at the Lab are being used to help solve real-world transportation issues.   The kids even got hands-on experience using a simulation game that is being used to train first responders on traffic accidents.  The student’s advisor, Rizwan Ramakdawela said “The kids had a blast with the simulator, had a fantastic time, and learned a lot… you may see more transportation engineers from our group in the future!” 

Ambareen Jafri, one of the Lego League students in the group said “It was a very helpful visit and we learned a lot about what we can do to further our search for a solution to our transportation problem.”   The students are planning a return trip to the CATT Lab in the future to get more help and to eventually show the results of their research and hard work.

For more information about the FIRST Lego League visit:

About the CATT Lab

The Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory (CATT Lab) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, supports National, State, and local efforts to provide safe and efficient transportation systems through improved operations and management by means of research and development, technology implementation, training and education.

The CATT Lab is supported by an interdisciplinary staff of graduate and undergraduate student researchers, affiliated faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering, and a permanent team of ITS professionals. For more information about the CATT Lab visit

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January 8, 2010

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