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North Side High School to host first robotics challenge

Three robots move around a challenge area constructed inside of North Side High School. The goal is for the robots to balance on boards and pick up purple inflatable cubes and deposit them inside boxes on either side of the area.
Scott Murray
/
Fort Wayne Community Schools
Three robots move around a challenge area constructed inside of North Side High School. The goal is for the robots to balance on boards and pick up purple inflatable cubes and deposit them inside boxes on either side of the area.

North Side High School is hosting its first large robotics competition tomorrow, with 16 teams competing.

The program is put on through FIRST Robotics, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST encourages students to look at problem solving and community engagement through STEM.

Chris Osbourne is the vice president of programs for FIRST Indiana Robotics.

“So, at every level our students are also taking on other challenges that really are tied to community problem-solving,” he said.

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade do a variety of age appropriate robotics.

“We have a strategic alliance with LEGO education, so our K through eight students are doing a variety of LEGO robotics," Osbourne said.

But once they hit high school, that’s when they begin working with a more traditional expectation of what a robot would look like.

Amanda Masic is a sophomore at North Side who learned about the program while in 8th grade and has been part of it since she was a freshman.

While experienced teams can build their own robots, rookie teams can purchase and modify what’s called an “every-bot.” Masic said the goal is to use the every-bot as a starting point, before designing your own robot.

One team's robot holds a purple inflatable cube up as it deposits it in the drop off area inside the challenge course.
Scott Murray
/
Fort Wayne Community Schools
One team's robot holds a purple inflatable cube up as it deposits it in the drop off area inside the challenge course.

“The every-bots are good, you can make your own adjustments to them to make it, well, original," she said. "But I think it’s also good to delve into something original away from the every-bot.”

It’s not all fun and games when competing in the robotics challenge, though.

“It is stressful at times and at times you’ll lose your patience," Masic said. "Good thing there are some places during these events you can take a quiet spot and just take a break.”

Tim Rowan is a senior at Homestead who is both part of a team and on the student board of directors for Indiana.

“These aren’t just robots, they’re really introducing a whole new level of understanding of how the world works for these students,” he said.

Rowan has been part of the program since he was a freshman and says there’s constantly more to learn, that he’s still learning new things every day, and that’s the goal for all the students involved.

“As they learn more then they become more familiar with where they see themselves fitting into their community and how they can become more impactful and more inspiring for those around them," Rowan said.

The competition is free and open to the public. It will take place from 8 AM to 6:30 PM tomorrow. Find the full schedule of events below.

8:00AM Pits Open

9:00AM – 9:30AM Opening Ceremonies

9:30AM – 12:00PM Qualification Matches

12:00PM – 1:00PM Lunch

1:00PM - 2:30PM Qualification Matches

2:30PM – 3:00PM Alliance Selection

3:00PM – 6:00PM Playoff Matches

6:00PM – 6:30PM Closing Ceremonies

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.