Teams supported by Arnold STEM compete in regional FIRST® Tech Challenge
By Deidre Ortiz, AEDC/PA
/ Published March 04, 2019
ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. --
All six robotics teams supported by the Arnold Air Force Base Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program attended the regional Tennessee FIRST® Tech Challenge competition held at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro last month.
According to Olga Oakley, Arnold Air Force Base STEM Outreach Program coordinator, this was the first year there was an official FIRST Tech Challenge competition held in Tennessee.
“For the past few years, the closest official FTC Competition has been the Alabama FIRST Competition in Huntsville, Alabama,” she said. “It helps to have an official competition closer to the middle Tennessee area, but it is also so fascinating to see many of our teams participating in both tournaments.”
FIRST Tech Challenge teams are made up of students in seventh through twelfth grades. As part of the competitions, the teams are challenged to design, build, program and operate their robots to compete in challenges in an alliance format.
These student teams are guided by adult coaches and mentors, and through these challenges develop their STEM skills and practice engineering principles. This is all while learning the value of hard work, innovation and sharing ideas.
Teams must raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach, for which they can win awards. Participants also have access to college scholarships as part of this program.
This year's game is called "Rover Ruckus," using a 2-on-2 format played on the 12-by-12 field. Sixty matches were scheduled to rank the 28 teams, with elimination matches to determine the event winner.
Team #8411 from Spring Hill, known as Team SHARP, was one of the Arnold STEM-sponsored teams to receive the winning alliance advancement and was only one spot away from going to the world FTC competition.
Another, Tennessee Robotics Club Team #11161 from Murfreesboro, won the Collins Aerospace Innovate award and finished tenth in qualification rounds. The team was only five points away from advancing to the third semi-final round.
The other teams that competed, which are supported by Arnold AF STEM, were Team Inception from Tullahoma High School, The Flying Fish from Shelbyville, Torque Force from Joelton, and Small Town Robotics from Shelbyville.
Oakley congratulated each of the teams on a job well done.
“Any mistakes that were made in one tournament, were learned from and allowed the teams to fix their robots accordingly and precisely for the next tournament,” she said. “It is amazing to see the students taking on the challenge and loving it every step of the way.”
For more information about the Tennessee Robotics Club and the FIRST Tech Challenge, visit https://tennesseeroboticsclub.org/ftc-challenge/.