This Saturday, 40 teams of robot builders will gather at Mountlake Terrace High School for the national kickoff of the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, Robotics Competition.
Three Edmonds School District teams are competing: Team 4077 M*A*S*H from Edmonds-Woodway High School, Team 1777 Chill Out..! from Mountlake Terrace High School and Team 2522 Royal Robotics from Lynnwood High School.
The teams will be given a challenge and a box of supplies. There are no blueprints or guidelines on how to build their robot. Teams will have six weeks to design a robot that can complete the challenge and build it before the first competition.
The Jan. 9 event at Mountlake Terrace High School is just one of several being held across the U.S. All competitors will watch the same broadcast of the rules and receive the same box of supplies.
Then teams will compete at events for the next several months.
“It’s a cross between a concert and a sporting event,” Kellie Essig, of Washington FIRST robotics, said. “This is a sport where everyone can go pro.”
This robotics competition is one way FIRST is exposing kids to science, technology, engineering and math, and possibly eventually a career in science.
However, there are benefits even for those who don’t pursue science majors or jobs.
“They are exposed to a lot of opportunities for learning work-based skills,” Essig said. “Things like professionalism, a strong work ethic and problem solving.”
The event on Saturday begins at 7 a.m. and is expected to run until noon.
-By Natalie Covate