Press-Republican

Lifestyles

July 13, 2013

Local robotics club expanding age groups

PLATTSBURGH — Robots will continue to strengthen their presence at the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum this summer.

The Plattsburgh-based museum is hosting its second year of robotics programs as organizers expand their offerings to more age groups.

“We’re trying to provide a program for those kids who want to continue through the different levels,” said David Collins, who helps run the Transportation Museum’s robotics program with his son and head coach, Justin Collins.

Justin is a sophomore at SUNY Plattsburgh, majoring in physics and engineering. David is a special-education teacher at Northeastern Clinton Central School.

LEGO COMPETITIONS

Last year, the museum hosted a FIRST Lego League competitive team with kids ranging from ages 4 to 14.

This year’s program will also include Junior FIRST Lego League for kids from 6 to 8 and a FIRST Tech Challenge for kids 14 to 18.

The junior squad features a maximum of six participants who will use Lego products to complete a task and create a poster board and final project.

The 9-to-14 bracket, with a maximum of 10 members for each team, will again build and program a robot using Lego robotics materials and will attend regional competition at Clarkson University in December.

The older group will build and program a more complex robotic system and will also complete in December.

FIRST is the name of the company that co-sponsors the competition with Lego Corp.

GROWING INTENSITY

The Transportation Museum currently sponsors one team for the youngest and oldest groups and two teams for the 9-to-14 group.

“We’re hoping that as kids age out of one group, they will want to compete with the next,” David said. “As they advance, the challenges become much more intense.”

The competition always features topics relevant to current trends in society. In 2012, participants had to program their robots to carry out tasks that were representative of activities senior citizens can do to promote independent living.

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