120 Middle and High-School Students Reimagine the Future of Sustainable Energy at Robotics Tournament

FIRST Tech Challenge - POWERPLAY season

120 middle and high school students from South Carolina are gearing up to compete in a qualifying tournament as part of FIRST® Tech Challenge. FIRST, a robotics community that prepares young people for the future, is a global nonprofit with a mission to make STEM education more available and fun for students ages PreK-18. FIRST Tech Challenge is a widely accessible, robotics program for grades 7 through 12 that is one of several program offerings from FIRST®. Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team.

After spending several months designing, building, and programming, South Carolina FIRST® Tech Challenge teams will come together from all over the western half of South Carolina to compete in a Qualifying Tournament that includes robot inspections, judged interviews and qualification and elimination matches that will culminate in an awards ceremony. The South Carolina FIRST® Tech Challenge West Qualifying Tournament will take place on Saturday, February 4th at Fountain Inn High School with opening ceremonies at 10:15 am and the final robot matches and Awards Ceremony starting at approximately 4:30 pm. The top teams competing in the tournament will earn advancement to the FIRST® Tech Challenge South Carolina State Championship at Dreher High School in Columbia, February 24-25, 2022. From there, two teams will advance to the FIRST® Championship in April 2023.

The 2022-2023 FIRST® Tech Challenge season is called POWERPLAYSM presented by Raytheon Technologies. The season theme stems from the United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goal #7, which is focused on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. While participating in POWERPLAY, teams must focus on making the right energy decisions and find innovative ways to unlock their robot’s full potential as they race to build and complete circuits, testing the limits of power, performance, energy, and endurance.

FIRST® Tech Challenge teams build and program robots using an Android based control system by programming in Java or using other apps. They are exposed to 3-D modeling software to design their robot virtually before building them. For programming, students can use vison software and machine learning to help their robots navigate autonomously. Students who participate in FIRST® Tech Challenge are eligible for over $80 million in college scholarships provided by participating universities and sponsors. Learn more about the program at www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc.

The South Carolina FIRST® Tech Challenge West Qualifying Tournament is free and open to the public, and anyone interested in learning more, starting a team, volunteering, or mentoring with FIRST® Tech Challenge is encouraged to attend. Food will be available for purchase on site, and the robot action is sure to ENERGIZE you. Come out and encourage these hard-working robotics students as they work to become a generation of global citizens ready and willing to solve difficult challenges and power our future forward. Contact SC FIRST® Tech Program Delivery Partner, Linda Stewart (linda.stewart@firstsouthcarolina.org), for more information.

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