What comes to mind when you hear the words “robotics teams?” Most will think, BattleBots, the TV show where expensive robots fight, but the robots we are referring to are the kind that builds things.
STEEL Ridge Robotics Team at Ridgefield High School participates in the national FIRST Program (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The goal of FIRST is to get more kids into STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). High school teams work to design robots for interesting science-based games.
Each year there is a theme. Past themes include Steampunk (building a working airship, PowerUp (navigating through video game type activities), and Stronghold (storming the castle). This years theme is Destination Deep Space in honor of the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon. Students and mentors have six weeks to build a robot that can complete the goals of the mission.
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Mentors are an important part of the robotics team. Adult mentors work with the kids all year long to develop a robot design, create mechanism builds, and they learn business plan creation. Mentors bring their craft such as electrical engineering, media, computer programming, graphics and more. Jeff Brink, robotics team advisor at Ridgefield High School said, “these people are amazing, all the stuff that they can do. Without them, our program doesn’t go anywhere.