Challenger Center involved in Robotics

Jan Gibson and Melissa Collins examine a robotShown here are Challenger Center Board Member Jan Gibson and Melissa Collins of the Challenger Center.

The Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky has partnered with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to offer a robotics program for students from grades 4-8. The center is specifically involved in the FIRST Lego League, a worldwide robotics program which uses robotics construction and design to encourage educational growth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Participating teams will compete in a tournament system which starts at the regional level and goes all the way to world competition. This tournament focuses on three key areas --The FIRST Core Values, Robot Game and Design, and the Challenge Project, noted Joseph Collins of the Challenger Center.

The Robot Game consists of a tournament table where students will use an autonomous robot that they have built and programmed to accomplish missions and tasks laid out by the FIRST organization. Teams are awarded points based on the missions they complete.

The challenge topic for this year is Senior Solutions and the Game and Project will focus on the identification of a problem faced by seniors and the ways in which robotics and engineering can be used to address that problem. Students will design a presentation about their chosen topic and solution and present it to a panel of judges. There are few rules for this and students are encouraged to be creative in coming up with unusual or energetic presentations.

The Challenger Center is working to recruit local teams and raise awareness and involvement in this event. We are also serving in a mentor role to assist these new teams in getting started. Judges and referees are also needed to help with the regional competition to be held in December. If you have engineering or robotics experience and are interested in volunteering to help with the FIRST Lego League robotics competition please contact the Challenger Center at (606) 487-3050.

In addition to the Challenger Center s work with the FIRST organization, they are also including robotics in summer camp programs because it is very popular with kids and relates heavily to STEM education.

The schools participating from are: from Perry County: Viper Elementary and Robinson Elementary; Boy Scout Troop 90 from Hazard; Hazard Middle School; Jackson Middle in Jackson County; Farristown Middle in Madison County; and Warfield Middle in Martin County.