Fun and learning at CCCC Robotics Competition
The SanLee Middle School robotics team carried home the Best Overall trophy and the Robot Performa ... (more)
SanLee Middle School robotics team members Samantha Godfrey (left) and Shawn Putnam get their team ... (more)
SanLee Middle School robotics team members Phillip Wooden (left) and David Perdrisat watch their t ... (more)
West Lee Middle School robotics team members Joey Morrill (left) and Malik Williams, carefully wat ... (more)
The West Lee Middle School robotics team, pictured with Central Carolina Community College mascot ... (more)
Justin Jessup (center) and Anna Roberts, members of the Anne Chesnutt Middle School, Fayetteville, ... (more)
SANFORD - Technology and fun combined for an exciting event as middle school teams ran robots they built through a series of "missions" during Central Carolina Community College's Robotics Competition Nov. 19 at the college's Lee County Campus.
Teams from SanLee and West Lee middle schools, in Sanford, and Anne Chesnutt Middle School, in Fayetteville, competed to show off the skills of their robots, all built from Legos.
SanLee won the Best Overall Performance trophy as well as the Robot Performance and Robot Design awards. West Lee won the Teamwork Award, and Anne Chesnutt took home the Presentation Award. All students participating received a certificate recognizing the hard work and creativity they put into their projects.
The Robotics Competition was cosponsored by the college's Engineering Technology Department, Communities in Schools of Lee County, and Lee County Schools. The event was a scrimmage in preparation for the official FIRST LEGO League competitions, which are held annually regionally, statewide and nationally. All the teams are FFL-registered and eligible for the regional and state competitions.
FIRST (Foundation for the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international nonprofit organization that works with the Lego Corporation as FIRST LEGO League to create competitions to interest young people in math, science and technology, according to the League's web site (www.firstlegoleague.org).
Each year, FFL issues a challenge, including a robot competition, which focuses on a real-world problem. Students take part by building and programming robots to accomplish tasks related to the problem and by researching and developing potential solutions to the problem.
The 2011 competition is "Food Factor: Keeping Foods Safe." The students, working with a teacher/coach spent months in study and hands-on learning to build and program their robots to work autonomously in carrying out several missions marked out on a tabletop competition field.
The robots had to negotiate game pieces representing food through some of the steps involved in getting them to the consumer, either avoiding or dealing with challenges of possible contamination sources, such as harvesting, transport, storage, and pest removal. The students also had to research, develop, and share their innovative solutions to food safety challenges.
"Our world is changing; we rely so much on technology such as robotics," said Patrick Kelly, the college's liaison of Vocational and Technical programs and co-director of its Robotics Competition. "Today, we rely on mathematics and science in ways we could not imagine 20 years ago. Our middle schools students are the future engineers and leaders of tomorrow. This competition provides them with a means to put into practice the math and science they are learning on a daily basis."
A panel of six judges evaluated the students' work at the local event: Don Hon, principal test engineer for EMC Corporation; Tony Reece, instrumentation and control technician for Progress Energy; Ray Dawson, senior training professional for Pfizer; Laurie Lympany, process engineer at Polyzen Corp.; and Alfredo Martinez-Sanchez and Karen Diaz, who both graduated from CCCC in 2011 with Associate of Applied Science degrees in Electronics Engineering Technology and are now continuing their studies at the college in Laser and Photonics Technology. Steve Lympany, chairman of CCCC's Engineering Technology Department, served as the event's master of ceremonies.
"The LEGO Robotics competition is designed to introduce kids to the world of technology and engineering in a fun and rewarding way," Lympany said. "Our hope is to provide an opportunity to inspire and excite their interest in careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). There is so much emphasis placed on sports and glamour figures these days, but the chances of succeeding in those areas are very, very small. However, every one of these kids who pursues a career in science and technology can successfully 'go pro'."
For more information about Central Carolina's Electronics Engineering Technology degree and Electronics Technology certificate programs, visit the college's web site, www.cccc.edu, or call (919) 718-7331. For more information about the FIRST LEGO League, visit www.firstlegoleague.org.
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