The quest you face is to breach your opponent’s stronghold, using boulders to weaken your enemy’s towers. You shall capture their towers and win your prize.
Or at least, that’s the goal of 78,000+ students of the FIRST robotics competition.
Dubbed a “Varsity Sport for the Mind,” FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. It’s the only school sport where all members may turn pro if they choose. Teams of ten or more high school students ages 14-18 are challenged to build and program a robot. This robot performs prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. They raise funds, design a team “brand” and hone teamwork skills. It’s as close to real-world business and engineering as a student can get.
In 2016, more than 3,000 teams from around the world compete for glory in FIRST STRONGHOLD. Each year a new game is introduced, and teams have six weeks to design and build a robot, which will compete at local, regional and national events. There are four kickoff events in Indiana.
We believe the kids involved in these competitions will be the world’s future engineers and programmers. They are the leaders that will run companies like ours. Participating in the FIRST robotics competition students are eligible to apply for $22 million in scholarships from more than 200 colleges and universities.
So to do our part we contributed in just about every way we possibly could. Allied Automation was a full sponsor for one of the teams: Aluminosity. We gave the teams components for their robots and provided training in pneumatics for the kids. Our own Andrew Dill gave the opening ceremony speech, as well as judged one of the FIRST STRONGHOLD’s competition.
Aluminosity is a robotics team based in Lawrence County, Indiana. Their team competes in the First Robotics Competition (FRC) which is part of the FIRST programs that are designed to inspire students in pursuing higher education in the STEM fields.
The long-term impact of events like these have is huge. FIRST invests in evaluation to continuously measure and inform the organization in its effectiveness in reaching its desired outcomes. Some of these recorded impacts are the very reasons that everybody here at Allied Automation loves being a part of the FIRST competitions.
Students who participate are two times more likely to major in science or engineering in college. 33% of those engineering majors have also been women. Increased problem solving, increased time management, increased conflict resolution, and increased communication skills are just some of the core skill-sets found after students compete in FIRST competitions.
Participants in all three FIRST programs in the study show significantly greater gains in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related measures than comparison students.
Investing in the future, whether it’s the future of technology for manufacturing or the future of our children is a top priority at Allied Automation. Through programs like FIRST, we are able to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders. By engaging with them in exciting competitions, we are building their skills in STEM fields. We also hope to inspire well-rounded life skills including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
For more information on the FIRST Robotics competition, visit their website and watch the video.