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Local Student Robotics Teams to Compete at STLCC-Florissant Valley

first-1St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley will sponsor two major FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics events Dec. 3-4.

The public is invited to watch the events free of charge. Activities will run 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. both days in the gymnasium on campus, 3400 Pershall Road. FIRST road signs will direct visitors to parking.

Organizers say the best viewing will be 12:30-3 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-noon on Sunday.

Thirty-three teams with more than 400 students in grades 7-12 will compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge on Saturday, Dec. 3. They will use a combination of motors, controllers, wireless communications, metal gears and sensors, including infrared tracking and magnet seeking, to program their robots to operate in both autonomous and driver-controlled modes on a specially designed field.

In this season’s game, Velocity Vortex , teams work in an alliance to score points against their opponents by placing small balls, called particles, into two different types of vortexes, including a center vortex on a rotatable stand in the center of the field. Robots can also light beacons with their alliance’s color, and in the final 30 seconds of the match, raise a large ball off of the playing field and place the ball in their center vortex.

There will be 23 smaller meets and six similar sized qualifying events around the state, through which teams will compete for a chance to advance to the Missouri FIRST Tech Championship at Missouri University of Science and Technology on March 4.

Youngsters ages 9-16 will compete in the FIRST® LEGO® League Sunday, Dec. 4. Participants from around the world are challenged to think like scientists and engineers. During the Animal Allies season, teams will choose and solve a real-world problem in the project. They will also build, test and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a set of missions in the robot game.  Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FIRST LEGO League’s signature set of core values, celebrating discovery, teamwork and gracious professionalism®.

More than 350 teams consisting of 3,500 total students are participating in the FIRST robotics events this year. STLCC has partnered with FIRST for the past 14 years.

“The FIRST robotics competitions have become an annual event that we always look forward to hosting,” said Steve Ehlen, Engineering Technology Center supervisor and instructor at Florissant Valley. “The amount of work the FIRST Tech Challenge and the FIRST LEGO League teams and volunteers put in is truly inspiring to those of us who teach science, technology, engineering and math at STLCC.”