Lowcountry FIRST Tech Challenge League Kicks off Competition Season at Citadel Mall

FIRST®, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a 30 year old global nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire the next generation of technology leaders.

This 2019-2020 season, FIRST RISE(SM), powered by Star Wars: Force for Change, is setting out to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators who work together, strengthening and protecting the Force that binds us and creating a place where collaboration and collective wisdom can elevate new ideas and foster growth. FIRST®Tech Challenge (FTC), designed for students from 7th – 12th grades, is one of four FIRST® STEM programs offered to K-12 students. Local teams are having their first league competition on Saturday, October 26th at Citadel Mall in Center Court adjacent to the MUSC Health West facility that is under construction.

Robot competition matches will be run between 11:30 am and 2:00 p.m., and the public is invited to attend and watch the action. Information about the FIRST® robotics progression of programs for students ages 6-18 will be available between 10:00 am and 2:00 p.m.

The 2018-2019 FIRST® Tech Challenge season is called SKYSTONE(SM) and is a city-themed competition where robots work together to build skyscrapers out of game-pieces representing Stones. SKYSTONE(SM) presented by Qualcomm is played on a 12 ft. x 12 ft. square field with two Alliances of two Robots each – “red” and “blue”.

The field is divided by a 14” high Skybridge into two zones – the Loading Zone and the Building Zone. Depots and Building Sites marked on the field as well as movable Foundations are provided for each Alliance. Matches have two distinct periods of play: a 30-second Autonomous period followed by a two-minute DriverControlled period with the last 30-seconds of the Driver Controlled period being designated as End Game. During the Autonomous period, Robots operate using only pre-programmed instructions and sensor inputs.

During the Driver-Controlled period, Alliances earn points by Delivering and Placing Stones. Robots also try to build Skyscrapers on Foundations as high as possible. In the End Game, Alliances may earn bonus points by Capping their Skyscrapers with a team-supplied Capstone, moving their Foundations out of the Building Site, and Parking their Robot in their Building Site. Visit http://bit.ly/Skystone-video for more information.

FIRST® Tech Challenge teams design, build and program robots using an Android based control system by programming in Java or using other apps. In addition to science, engineering, and technology skills, students gain experience in fund-raising, marketing their team brand, and doing outreach to share STEM with their community. The mentor-based program also fosters other capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. Students who participate in FIRST® Tech Challenge are eligible for over $80 million in college scholarships provided by participating universities and sponsors.

The Lowcountry FIRST®Tech Challenge League Match Meet at Citadel Mall is free and open to the public. Anyone interested in learning more about FIRST® programs, starting a team, volunteering, or mentoring with FIRST® Tech Challenge is encouraged to attend. Come out and encourage these hard-working robotics students as they seek to fulfill the vision of FIRST®: “...to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”— Dean Kamen, Founder

For more information contact Lowcountry FTC League Director, Linda Stewart lfstewart66@gmail.com

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