Not Your Dad’s Legos

Local Billings team wins state-wide competition using robotics, teamwork and problem-solving.

Here at Ultra Graphics we love to highlight things happening in our community that show everyone how amazing Billings and its residents are – and this one is extra special:

In late January, a Billings-based team succeeded in winning first place at the Montana FIRST Lego League state competition in Bozeman – beating out more than 70 other teams from across the state. The team included 7th grade students Christine Croft (daughter of our very own Michael Croft, designer extraordinaire), Kenna Toohill, Madi Garland, Shannon Dooley, and Coaches Kelli Toohill and Kevin Toohill.

Guided by their coaches, the Billings FIRST LEGO League team researched a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and were challenged to develop a solution. They also designed, built, and programmed a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® – a programming software toolset – to compete on a table-top playing field.

As a result of their victory, the team then had the opportunity to go to Houston, Texas in April to compete in an international competition with students from all over the world.

What is FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League?

Tomorrow’s innovators practice imaginative thinking and teamwork. Through learning, robotics, and problem-solving, FIRST Lego League adds up to tons of fun while learning to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM), plus a big dose of imagination to solve a problem. Along their journey, teams develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges. They also practice the Program’s Core Values, which emphasize discovery, teamwork and good sportsmanship.

What an amazing program and an amazing opportunity for these lucky 7th graders. We’re proud of them! To learn more about FIRST Lego League and LEGO MINDSTORMS®, visit and