The U.S. Space & Rocket is hosting the 2019 FIRST Robotics Kick-Off event Saturday, Jan. 5, from 9-11 a.m., at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.
Around 400 students are participating in this event in which they will receive the “Kit of Parts” needed to build, design and test a functioning robot. In six weeks, teams will compete with their completed robots in district and regional competitions in March and April to qualify for the national championship to be held in late April.
Representatives of the Rocket Center’s Space Camp Robotics program will also have a robotics demonstration and information on the program for students ages 9-14.
FIRST Robotics is a national robotic competition for students in grades 9-12, and this year 45 teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are registered to participate. Each year, the FIRST Robotics game is changed, adding new levels of complexity to challenge students. The theme for 2019, the 30th year of the FIRST competition, is "Destination: Deep Space."
Local teams include Rockets of the Limestone County Career Technical Center; Dragon Slayers of Arab High School; Falcon Engineering of Lincoln County High School in Fayetteville, Tenn.; Mech Tech, of A.P. Brewer High School in Sommerville; Mad Rockers of Bob Jones and James Clemens High Schools in Madison; Grissom Robotics of Grissom High School, Cyber Jagzz of Huntsville High School; Redstone Robotics of Lee and New Century High Schools and Golden Hurricanes of Columbia High School in Huntsville; and Rad Robotics, comprised of Madison city homeschooled students.
FIRST, which stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology," is a national organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen in Manchester, New Hampshire, to inspire young people to pursue careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. NASA and its Robotics Alliance Project provide grants for high school teams and support for FIRST Robotics competitions around the country to address the critical national shortage in these fields.
For more information about FIRST programs and competitions, visit: http://www.firstinspires.org.