FIRST Robotics

I had the great pleasure yesterday of visiting a team preparing for this year’s FIRST Robotics competition. The team had competed this year, and they were in the early stages of fund raising, computer animating, designing, building, programming and testing a new robot for this year. They had the base of last year’s robot powered up for programming test runs, and they had just received the extruded aluminum beams used to build the frame and base of the new creation.

It was really great to to see so many layers of teamwork happening in one room– even metal working tools were in use as structural parts were prepared. As it defines itself, FIRST Robotics is “a varsity sport of the mind” for high school students, and they have different types of programs for students from age 6 on.

It’s interesting that the organization uses the sports analogy for how the teams of students work so hard after school, doing focused vertical work with technology and collaboration, planning and competitive skills. I wrote a post not long ago called “Is Technology Like Music?” and I saw themes of that idea yesterday as the students worked together (with a solid group of mentors and facilitators) toward a sort of performance.

I’m looking forward to seeing more of this team’s work as the year progresses. So far, it looks like they are off to a great start.

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