WSU Hosts Robotics State Championships for 700 Teens
OGDEN, Utah — More than 700 K-12 students will put their engineering skills to the test during the FIRST Day robotics competitions at Weber State University, Feb. 11 from 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Swenson Gym and Shepherd Union. In addition, 500 coaches, volunteers and family members are expected to cheer participants.
During the competition, teams will battle robots they have designed, programmed and built. Winners of the state competitions will secure a spot to advance to the national championships in Washington and Texas.
FIRST Day consists of two events where robots compete head-to-head: the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) State Championship is for ages 12-18 and the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Utah North Championship is for grades four through eight.
During the FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship, 36 teams will demonstrate their problem-solving skills, creative thinking, teamwork and sportsmanship. Teams score points when their robots complete certain tasks, such as maneuvering around obstacles, picking up debris and pressing buttons. FTC teams test and tweak their robots in multiple competitions throughout the year. Each robot is powered by Android technology and programmed using Java.
During the FIRST Lego League Utah North Championship, the teams’ robots will complete assignments based on the theme Animal Allies. Their mission will be to solve real-world problems that affect the animal population. Tasks will include safely transporting animals, delivering food and incorporating biomimicry into their design. This year, for example, the robots must replicate a gecko’s sticky feet by hanging on a wall.
Students experiencing their first introduction to robotics and engineering will also share their projects. During the FIRST Lego League Jr. Expo, for ages 6-10, teams will present a moving Lego model and a tabletop display.
“This is not just a fun way to spend your time and challenge your brain, FIRST team members also do better in math, technology and science classes and are more likely to pursue STEM degrees and careers than their peers,” said David Ferro, dean of the College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology (EAST). “Being on an FLL or FTC team is good for kids, good for schools and good for Utah's future economic growth. I love these programs and feel honored to be a part of providing them for our state.”
Weber State has hosted the FIRST championships for the past five years. The university is the FIRST Tech Challenge Affiliate Partner for Utah, and recently became the FIRST Lego League Affiliate Partner for Utah. The university collaborates with 383 FIRST teams in Utah to offer nearly 3,500 students a hands-on experience with science, math and engineering.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
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