The UMass Dartmouth College of Engineering and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport are co-hosting a FIRST Lego League Qualifier in the UMass Dartmouth Science and Engineering Building on Saturday, December 8. The competition begins at 9 a.m. with an award ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m.

The students research a real-world engineering challenge, develop a solution and compete with Lego-based robots of their own design.

Twenty-four teams from southeastern Massachusetts, including teams from New Bedford, Taunton, Brockton, Dartmouth, Canton, Wellesley, Foxborough, Sharon, Duxbury, Plymouth, Lakeville, Kingston, Bridgewater, Raynham and Westwood will be competing with robots they have been building since the start of school, demonstrating their ability to work as a team, and showing off projects they created to highlight this year's mission: Into Orbit - focusing on space and quality of life for astronauts.

The event is supported by FIRST Robotics Competition Team 5846, which is made up of teens from six local high schools. This robotics competition highlights regional STEM skills in local high school students.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.