Column: WHS Robotics build season now under wayWORTHINGTON — FIRST Robotics was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.
By: David Rezny, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — FIRST Robotics was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. “Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.” (Dean Kamen, Founder of FIRST Robotics).
Over the past two years, with the financial support of several local businesses and District 518 — and coached by Richard Owen — the JC Penney/Worthington High School Robotics team #3871 participated in FIRST Robotics. Every year, a different challenge is given to robotics teams at a regional kickoff. Our kickoff took place in Mankato, where teams learned about the challenge, were given a kit-of-parts and had the opportunity to visit with veteran teams. Each team then has six weeks to build, test, modify and program a robot to compete in a regional competition. There are more than 78 regional events that take place throughout the United States and world. Minnesota has four competitions — two at the U of M Minneapolis and two in Duluth — with a total of about 220 teams.
The competition consists of teams being randomly placed on alliances, then competing against other randomly placed teams. After the competition, all the teams get shuffled again and a new set of competitions are played. This process gets repeated seven to 10 times, thus allowing each team the opportunity to play with — and against — almost every team at the event. This process also presents several challenges, because teams can’t get comfortable playing with other teams since they are constantly getting changed.
This year’s build season began Jan. 5. The students will begin to design their robot for this year’s competition during the next week or two. After the design comes the build; by far the most exciting part for the students. This article was typed prior to the beginning of the season, so we are not aware of what this year’s competition is. I encourage you to visit the robotics website found on the district website to learn more about this amazing opportunity for our students. If you would like to volunteer to help design, build, program or wire the robot, or would like to donate money, please contact the high school and ask to speak with the assistant principal.
For more information about FIRST Robotics, please visit www.USFIRST.org. You can learn more about Worthington’s team, follow the build and see our sponsors on our school website. This site is being updated constantly, so please check in regularly. Go to www.isd518.net, click on “Schools,” click on “High School,” click on “Activities,” and click on “Robotics.”