** Registration for this event starts December 5, 2011. The event is March 3, 2012. Register at Robofest.net.
(Special thanks to Deb Allen of the Medina County School’s ESC Department for writing this guest article.)
Robofest began in 2000, and is a robotics competition sponsored through Lawrence Technological University that targets students in grades 5-12. Students work on teams (2-3 students per team is recommended by Lawrence Tech) to build and program an autonomous robot. Students have the option of choosing any robotics kit and any programming software. Each year there are multiple categories that are available for students to compete in. Students choose one of the categories to showcase their construction and programming talents.
Robofest has many goals, most of which focus on creating interest and motivation for students to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) careers. Robofest also encourages students to be creative both in their design and building of their robot and also in their programming. Robofest is a student driven competition. Adults are not permitted to build or program the robots.
Robofest.net is the official website and it provides additional information about Robofest as well as pictures of past events. There are webinars that can be viewed by parents, coaches, teachers, and judges to learn more and to help guide your students toward successful completion of the project.
The Medina County Educational Service Center will be hosting a competition on March 3, 2012 in conjunction with the Medina County University Center. Registration for interested teams is located at robofest.net and begins on December 5, 2011. Specific rules and regulations for this year’s challenges will also be posted on the Robobfest website in December. Teams that qualify at the March 3 tournament can go on to compete at World Competition which will be held on May 19, 2012 at Lawrence Tech in Southfield, Michigan.
Many of the schools in Medina County have robotics programs. Parents who are interested should contact their school to see if there is already a program in place. For families whose school does not participate you have several options. You can talk to your principal about starting a club or you could mentor a group of students at your home. The team does need a robot, and while the LEGO NXT is very popular, it is not a requirement of the competition. Students can use any robot and any programming software. The robot just has to be autonomous (no wires attached to a computer).
I would encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about Robofest to go to the website to read about the program and view pictures of past competitions.