January 28, 2016

CASA hosts robotics competition Saturday

The College of Applied Sciences and Arts will host a robotics competition on Saturday, Jan. 30, that features 23 teams of junior high and high school students from three states. The competition will be at the Transportation Education Center at the Southern Illinois Airport.  

The First Tech Challenge program brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles together with innovation, creativity and competition. A synopsis of the competition and a video detailing game rules are available here. The non-profit FIRST, or “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” has a mission of motivating young people to pursue education and careers in STEM fields. This is the second year SIU Carbondale has hosted the regional event.  

After robot inspection and judging from 8 to 9:30 a.m., opening ceremonies start at 10 a.m. Matches are from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and from 1 to 3:15 p.m. Playoffs begin at 3:30 p.m., with the awards presentation at 5 p.m.  

The competing teams are a mix of high school, home school, junior high, 4-H and community robotics clubs from Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin. Nearly 400 students, coaches, parents and volunteers are expected. Each of the 23 teams average about eight members per team. 

The teams will compete for a berth in the Illinois State FTC Championships at Elgin Community College on Feb. 27, with a goal of reaching the FTC World Championships in St. Louis, April 27-30.  

Several registered student organizations, including ATO (Automotive Technology Organization) and the ATMAE (Association of Technology Management and Applied Engineering) Robotics Club, are involved with the event, including assisting in arranging rides to the Transportation Education Center.