Robotics Competition Coming to Elkhart

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Students from 24 teams will take part in the second annual IndianaFIRST State Championship in Elkhart. The May event will also include robotics demonstrations and a technology and college fair.

January 14, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- IndianaFIRST is pleased to announce that the site of the second annual IndianaFIRST State Championship will be North Side Middle School in Elkhart, Indiana. This event is for FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams and will be held in May of this year.

This one-day event will allow students on the top twenty-four FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics teams in Indiana to compete against each other for the title of IndianaFIRST Robotics Champion. These FRC teams expose students to the excitement of competitive robotics, inspiring many to continue on to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career pathways.

"While Elkhart is known as the RV Capital of the World, we also received press as one of the hardest-hit places during the country's economic downturn," said Brian Boehler, Robotics Director at the ETHOS Science Center. "Bringing more STEM-related jobs back to the area by focusing on robotics programs for students will hopefully put us back on the map. We have a lot of companies that have come together to support these programs so we're excited to show off something that has become so important to our community."

Elkhart was chosen as the 2014 State Championship site after submitting a proposal to the IndianaFIRST Competition Committee in December. The site was an easy choice due to the large amount of space they have available, not only for the competition field and pit areas for the robotics teams, but also for other potential activities such as a technology and college fair and areas for other robotics programs to demo. The space itself, the North Side Middle School gym, is one of the largest middle school gyms in the country. It will give the event an exciting atmosphere similar to sporting championships and every seat in the venue provides an excellent view of the competition field. The gym will also be able to offer up to four concession locations and teams will be able to bring in their own food, which helps to cut down on costs for many of the students.

Another selling point of the North Side Middle School is the proximity of area hotels. There are over 20 hotels within a three-mile radius of the school as well as multiple restaurants and several hardware stores, an obvious benefit for teams in need of additional parts and tools. The school also has 2,000 free parking spots, which will help accommodate team school buses and trailers as well as event spectators.

There are currently fifty-two FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams throughout Indiana. FRC teams are the highest level of FIRST robotics programs and engage high school students with coaches and mentors to design, build, and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against other competitors. Applying math and science concepts, teamwork, and strategic problem solving skills, these robotics teams are as close to "real-world engineering" as students can get.

While the State Championship is an off-season event that takes place after the FIRST World Championship in April, there are two qualifying regional events that take place in Indiana: the Crossroads Regional held at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology from March 6th - 8th, and the Boilermaker Regional held at Purdue University from March 20th - 22nd.

For more information on the IndianaFIRST State Championship and to learn the finalized dates of the event, please continue to check the website at http://www.indianafirst.org/events. You'll also be able to find more information at the ETHOS Science Center website at www.ethosinc.org.

IndianaFIRST is an organization dedicated to growing FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics programs in the state of Indiana. Founded in the fall of 2001 as the Indiana-based affiliate of FIRST, IndianaFIRST brings FIRST programming to students in grades K-12, teaching them hands-on skills in engineering, science, and technology that they can relate back to their class work.

Source: IndianaFIRST