Rowan LEGOS competition: Building scientists from toys
On Saturday Dec. 4, Rowan will host a LEGO robot competition for local middle school students.
“Take out your toys and start your homework!”
While most kids are told to put their toys away so they can do their work, local middle school students are using LEGOs to solve real-world science issues.
Rowan University will host the Rowan University FIRST LEGO League 2010 Qualifier: Body Forward Challenge on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Student Center. The top three teams participating in this event will move on to the First State FIRST LEGO League Champion's Tournament at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware on January 22, 2011. This regional event is part of FIRST LEGO League, an international organization that educates children while getting them excited about science, technology, engineering and math.
This is the fourth year that Rowan is hosting the competition.
“Rowan really comes together to make the event a success,” says Dr. Jennifer Kay, an associate professor of computer science. “We have numerous students volunteering, and faculty and staff serving as judges. This is a big deal for these kids, and it’s a way for us to encourage education while serving the community.”
This year’s theme is biomedical engineering. Participants will explore new ways to treat injuries, overcome genetic conditions, improve body function and lead healthy lives.
Prior to the event, teams build a robot using a LEGO kit. The robots compete in matches, where they complete simulations related to the theme, such as casting a broken bone.
Besides earning points in the games, teams are judged in three areas: robot design, teamwork, and on a research project they have undertaken.
“Kids don’t always think that science is cool or they think it’s too hard,” says Kay. “This competition invigorates kids to explore unfamiliar topics.”
Awards are given to the top scoring teams. “Hearing the students’ accomplishments is very inspiring,” says Kay. “It makes you realize the impact the event is having on the students’ education and the fields of science and engineering.”
There will be 12 teams featuring up to 10 students each. Teams include: CMS Automatons, Plainsboro NJ; Robotecs, South Jersey Robotics, Quinton Township School; Lunabots, South Jersey Robotics, Salem County College; Humanoids & Techettes, Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore Robotics, Ocean County; Robot Rangers, Say Watt Robotics, Edison; Margate #1, Margate City Recreation Department, Margate City; Ninjabots, Pitman Middle School, Pitman; PDS 1 & 2, Princeton Day School; and Domoes, Cornerstone Home Educators, a home school group with families mostly from Gloucester and Camden counties.
The event is free and open to public.