More than 1,000 students from 60 teams face off in the Greater Kansas City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. This high-tech event combines the rigors of science with the excitement of sport and the public is encouraged to attend, catch the excitement of this intense competition and cheer on their favorite teams. Admission is free.
Under strict rules, limited resources and the guidance of volunteer mentors including engineers, teachers, business professionals, parents, alumni and more, teams of 25+ students have just six weeks to build and program robots to perform challenging tasks against a field of competitors. They must also raise funds, design a team brand, hone teamwork skills and perform community outreach. In addition to learning valuable Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and life skills, participants are eligible to apply for $25+ million in college scholarships.
Each annual competition involves a new themed challenge. In this year’s FIRST STEAMWORKS, two alliances of three robots each will prepare their steam-powered era “airships” for the ultimate long distance race. The alliance with the highest score at the end of the match is best prepared for the race and wins. Teams are vying for a series of regional awards and a spot at the FIRST® Championship April 26-29 in St. Louis, Mo.
Thursday, March 16 8:30-11 a.m. - Robot testing and inspection
Noon-6:30 p.m – Practice rounds
Friday, March 17 8:30–9 a.m. – Opening ceremonies
9 a.m.-noon and 1-6 p.m. - Qualifying matches
6-6:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony
Saturday, March 18 8:30 a.m. - Opening ceremonies
9 a.m.-Noon. - Qualifying matches
1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. - Final rounds
4:30-6:30 p.m. – Awards and closing ceremonies
Metropolitan Community College-Business & Technology Campus
1775 Universal Ave., Kansas City, Mo.
Admission is free. More information: www.kcfirst.org
Students testing, tuning up, and competing with their robots. Watch student teams of two alliances with three robots each score as many points as possible. Mentors, school groups, school mascots, family, and fans are cheering on the teams.
See high school students showcase their work to younger students touring the competition as part of a field trip.
· Participating students: Beyond building and competing with the robots, students on FIRST teams tackle fundraising, creating and marketing a team brand and community outreach. Each team appoints a student ambassador to grant interviews and give tours. We’d love to connect you with a student from the district(s) your outlet covers.
· Long-time mentors/coaches such as MRIGlobal engineer Joe Bindel, who has spent countless hours each “build season” assisting a team from Paseo Fine Arts Academy for eight years running.
· Martha McCabe, executive director of KC STEM Alliance, a non-profit organization that supports STEM education and advocacy in the region.
· Number of students involved with FIRST programs in region has grown from just 167 in 2011-12 (the year KC STEM Alliance began working with program and tracking stats) to 378 in 2015-16.
· Evaluation data collected nationally shows FIRST participants are two times more likely to major in science or engineering and nearly 90 percent of alumni are in a STEM field as a student or professional.