Lydia Alvarez, KC STEM Alliance, 816-560-3219, firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Pozel, Kauffman Foundation, 816-932-1263, email@example.com
High School FIRST Robotics Teams Set to Converge on Kansas City
(Kansas City, Mo.) Feb. 28, 2012 -- The fifth annual Greater Kansas City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition will be held March 2 and 3, 2012, at Hale Arena in Kansas City, Mo. The Kauffman Foundation is the founding sponsor of the event and many of the local high school teams receive support from the Kauffman Foundation.
Sixty-four teams, including 35 from greater Kansas City area high schools, along with teams from Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wisconsin will try to advance to the National Championship, which will be held at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo., April 26-28, 2012. In this year’s game, “Rebound Rumble,” each match features two alliances of three teams competing to score points on a basketball court. Balls scored in higher hoops score alliances more points, and alliances are awarded bonus points if their robots manage to balance on bridges at the end of the match.
With Kauffman support, FIRST Robotics has encouraged a number of Kansas City area high school students to apply math and science principles to design, assemble, and test robots capable of performing specific tasks. Without instructions and using only the materials provided to them, teams rely on resourcefulness and inventiveness to meet tight project deadlines.
In 2011 the Kauffman Foundation announced a $3.2 million grant over five years to create the KC STEM Alliance. Housed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Computing and Engineering, the KC STEM Alliance consolidated the program management for two organizations in the Kansas City region: Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and FIRST (FIRST Robotics, FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Lego League).
The goal of FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science and Technology) is to help young people recognize the opportunity, power, and joy of solving problems through science, technology, and engineering. Founded in 1989 by entrepreneur and inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST is a multinational nonprofit organization, that seeks to transform culture, making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today.
Teams have six weeks to prepare their robot for regional competitions throughout the United States and qualify for national honors. During the robotics competition, the student teams are judged on the process and teamwork they used to build the robot. Teams include volunteer mentors who are engineers, academics and parents of team members. In the Kansas City area, associates with a variety of corporate sponsors, including the Midwest Research Institute, Hallmark, General Motors, Ford, Harley-Davidson, H&R Block, and DeVry University offer mentoring and moral support to the teams.