NY Robotics Teams Advance To World Championships
Student-made robots invaded the Jacob Javits Convention Center this past weekend, as more than 200 New York tri-state and international teams competed in the 14th annual NYC FIRST Celebration, held on April 4 to 6. The three-day event included a series of competitions, expos, and college and career fairs, and culminated with award-winning teams advancing to represent the New York City region at the FIRST World Championship on April 23 to 26 in St. Louis.
Approximately 3,000 New York City-area and international students from Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom spent months researching, honing their skills, and perfecting their robotic creations to compete in the New York City Regional Championship events.
“Each year, the NYC FIRST Regional Competitions are filled with excitement, challenges and surprises, but it is also a time for celebration of these young, talented minds and their growing passion for science and technology,” said Pat Daly, executive director of NYC FIRST. “The impact our robotics programs have had on the lives of these students, from the elementary to high school level, is profound. From engineering to problem-solving and team-building skills, all these teams worked hard and I congratulate the teams that are advancing to St. Louis.”
Now in its 14th year, the mega-competition featured three robotics programs: FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST LEGO League, and Jr. FIRST LEGO League offered by NYC FIRST, the local nonprofit affiliate of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) – an international nonprofit that introduces students at various grade levels to the thrill of hands-on robotics, research, teamwork and inquiry-based problem-solving, in order to nurture a lifelong passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines.
The award-winning FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams advancing to the FIRST World Championship on April 23 to 26 include teams from Brooklyn, Ontario, London, Long Island, Los Angeles and Yonkers.
Awards were also given to teams from the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) championship. Top awards included:
• Champion’s Award Second Place – Team 4000 Hurricane Pandas from P.S. 94.
• Project Research Award – Team 3374 Boogie Bots from Louis Pasteur M.S.
• Robot Performance Award – Team 17366 Ryan Lions from M.S. 261 Ryan M.S.
• Robot Design Strategy & Innovation Award – Team 1785 Bleeker All Stars from Bleeker J.H.S 185.
FIRST rotates regions to advance to the World Championship due to a high number of FLL teams internationally, so this is an off-year for New York to send FLL teams to St. Louis. “While our programs are aimed to inspire students to get more involved in science and technology, the teams that participated this weekend continually inspired us and their coaches over the last several months with their new ideas, techniques and dedication,” said Daly. “It’s not every day that you hear teachers say they had to beg their students to leave school because they just love what they’re doing.”
FRC combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 high school students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand”, hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. This year’s theme is “Aerial Assist”, played by two competing alliances of three robots each, with an objective to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two-minute and 30-second match. Sixty-six student teams from schools in New York, Indiana, California, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom will compete this year.
FLL introduces nine to 14 year old students (grades four to eight) to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete a variety tasks. As part of this year’s “Nature’s Fury” challenge, teams work together to create innovative solutions to help communities prepare, stay safe or rebuild when a natural disaster occurs, then present their solutions to a panel of judges. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and learn to make positive contributions to society. More than 70 teams from the five boroughs will compete this year.
NYC Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) introduces six to nine year old children (grades K-3) to the worlds of science and technology. Jr.FLL features a real-world problem, to be solved by research, critical thinking and imagination. For this year’s “Disaster Blaster” challenge, teams explore natural disasters and, guided by adult coaches, work with LEGO elements and moving parts to create solutions and present them for review in annual competitions. More than 40 teams from New York City will be showcasing their creativity and research.
The 14th annual Mega-Competition was sponsored by Bloomberg, ConEdison, the people of Goldman Sachs and friends, Siegel Family Endowment, Alliance Bernstein, Michael Dubno and Two Sigma.
For more information about NYC FIRST, the New York City Mega-Competition, or the FIRST World Championship, visit www.nycfirst.org. A complete schedule of events is available at www.nycfirst.org/events.
NYC FIRST is the New York City-based nonprofit affiliate of FIRST, an international nonprofit mentoring organization that was created to excite young people about science and technology, prepare today’s students to enter tomorrow’s advanced technology-based workplace, and provide them with valuable life skills. NYC FIRST is dedicated to providing students from all five boroughs the opportunity to take part in FIRST programs. Participation in FIRST has a positive impact on the lives of students, increasing college attendance, majors in science and engineering, participation in internships and co-ops, and involvement in community service.