Press-Republican

Education

May 6, 2014

Robotics generate fun, learning opportunities

PLATTSBURGH — Children shared laughter as they took turns controlling robots at the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum’s Demo Day.

Members of the museum’s FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Technology Challenge teams brought their robots to Champlain Centre mall to demonstrate how they operate and to bring awareness of the technology.

The event showcased two types of robots made by each of the teams. 

A programmed one built with Lego pieces by the LEGO League team went along with a recent contest theme of natural disasters. 

The other robot was made out of metal and manipulated by remote control.

TEAM-BUILDING SKILLS

Both of the teams competed in FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Technology Challenge competitions at Clarkson University in Potsdam in March. 

The FIRST LEGO League challenge required the teams to build a robot that could assist in response to natural disasters.

The team members from Plattsburgh created a fire blanket to help protect firefighters during wildfires. 

And they won the Judge’s Award for designing an app that prepares children for floods. 

The Technology Challenge team built a robot that could move blocks from one location to another in a timed period.

David Collins, one of the coaches, helped both teams with basic programming for the robotics competition. 

Niklas Dahlen and Kent Vaccaro are part of the FIRST LEGO team, which also won the Core Value Award. 

Although this is their second year competing, they acknowledged that there is always room to learn more about robotics.

“I learned that the First LEGO League is a great way to learn team-building skills and life skills like leadership and teamwork,” Dahlen said.

‘GREAT FOR FUTURE’

Robotics competitions reach a worldwide level and give participants the chance to win scholarships.

The knowledge that team members have attained through building their robots includes aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

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