Robotics Competition Returns to McKendree on Nov. 17-18

Local Students to Compete in FIRST Tech Challenge, LEGO League Tournaments

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University will host two robotics qualifying tournaments, the 2012-13 FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST® LEGO League (FLL), on Nov. 17 and 18. The events will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Melvin Price Convocation Center gymnasium on Alton St. Spectators are welcome after noon on both days. Admission is free.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics programs are designed to inspire students of all ages to excel in math and science.

High school-aged participants are coming to the “Ring it Up!” FTC tournament on Nov. 17 from Decatur, Kankakee, Kewanee, Marion, O’Fallon, Quincy and Urbana, Ill.; Martinsville, Ind.; and Manchester and Webster Groves, Mo. The 18-by-18-inch robots they have built and programmed will compete against each other, and the clock, to complete a task. Teams must use math, science, problem-solving, organizational and team-building skills to be successful. Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design and other accomplishments. Teams can advance from the qualifying tournament to the state championship, and ultimately the World Championship Tournament in April at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

“Senior Solutions” is the theme of the event on Nov. 18. FLL, the program’s “little league,”introduces eight-to-14-year-olds to engineering challenges as they design, build, test and program smaller LEGO Mindstorms robots. The robots are remote-controlled to complete a task on a playing surface. Sixteen teams from Belleville, Columbia, Germantown, Glen Carbon, Lebanon, O’Fallon and Shiloh, Ill., as well as Washington, Mo., will participate, assisted by their coaches and mentors.

Volunteers are needed for both tournaments for check-in, crowd control, hospitality, event breakdown, timekeeping, field reset, and scorekeeping. Trained volunteers are also needed to judge student projects and robot designs. All volunteers will receive a continental breakfast, lunch and an official T-shirt.

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