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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.Students representing Winnebago High School in Winnebago, Ill., are working hard preparing for a national robotics competition and hope to bring home the championship trophy.
NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is sponsoring the Winnebago robotics team in the annual For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition. The team will design and build a robot to perform certain tasks set by the competition organizers. The FIRST Competitiondescribed by organizers as a unique varsity sport of the mindis designed to usher in the future of scientific and technical competition while showing participants how interesting and rewarding the life of a scientist and engineer can be.
The Winnovation team compete against teams from other schools in regional competitions March 1-3 in St. Louis and then March 15-17 in Chicago. If it finishes in first place at either regional competition, the team will move on to the national finals April 12-14 in Atlanta, where the winning team receives a banner, trophy and membership into the FIRST Robotics Hall of Fame. Team members also select one of their own members to receive a medal and a $10,000 scholarship to attend the college of his or her choice.
Right now, tomorrows space explorers are seated in Americas classroomsasking questions, solving problems and building robots, said Tammy Rowan, interim manager of the Marshall Centers Academic Affairs Office. Initiatives like our partnership with FIRST help NASA foster learning environments that will inspire young people to set their sights on venturing to the moon, Mars and beyond.
Specific FIRST challenges are modified every year, requiring teams to build robots to perform different tasks than in previous competitions. Each team was to design and build its robot in time for shipping to its respective regional venue by Feb. 20.
With this project, NASA continues the agencys tradition of investing in the nations education programs. It is directly tied to NASAs major education goal of engaging Americans in the agencys mission. NASA is committed to building strategic partnerships and linkages between formal and informal education providers. Through hands-on, interactive educational activities, NASA is engaging students, educators, families, the general public and all Agency stakeholders to increase Americas science and technology literacy.
FIRST is a nonprofit organization based in Manchester, N.H., founded to inspire and excite young people about science and technology by pairing them with a professional mentor. FIRST sponsored its first robotics competition in 1992 with 28 participating teams. This year, more than 1,300 teams representing every state and six foreign countries will take part.
For more information about NASA and the Vision for Space Exploration, visit www.nasa.gov.
For more information about the FIRST Robotics Competition, visit www.usfirst.org.
From the March 7-13, 2007, issue