FLINT — Forty of Michigan’s top high school robotics teams will square off at the FIRST Robotics Competition District Event #2 at Kettering University on March 7-9.
The competition, which will be held in Kettering’s Recreation Center, is free and open to the public. Thursday will be an inspection and set-up day, and qualifying matches will take place Friday and Saturday. Playoff matches slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Among the list of this year’s competitors are several Genesee County area teams, including: the Megatron Oracles (Big MO) Team #314 from Carman- Ainsworth High School; the House of Cards Team #3534 from Davison High School; and the Dragons Team #1243 from Swartz Creek High School.
The 2019 theme for the FIRST is Destination: Deep Space, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. The event will feature four competition levels for the teams and their robots, revolving around space-related tasks such as loading cargo and placing hatches onto rocket ships.
Teams that finish with the highest combined point totals from this weekend and the previous District Event #1 will advance to the state finals and play for a slot in the FIRST Championship held in Detroit on April 20-24.
Deemed the “Ultimate Sport of the Mind,” the FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Teams must utilize limited resources and endure an intense six-week building time limit, all while raising funds, designing a team “brand,” honing teamwork skills, and assembling/programing industrial-size robots to play a head-to-head field game against like-minded competitors.
Ellen Crain, head mentor and high school robotics advisor for Carman- Ainsworth’s Big MO team, said that the FIRST competition season provides students with an array of life skills.
“Participating in FIRST prepares our students for different career fields and gives them experience with time management and financial management,” she said. “We cover all facets of engineering, marketing, PR…it’s not just about building robots.”
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by renowned inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. The non-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST LEGO League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST LEGO League Jr. for Grades K-4.