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posted: 8/21/2013 10:17 AM

Clubs announce new robotics challenges for kids

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Submitted by Fox Valley Robotics

Fox Valley Robotics and Batavia Robotics are celebrating their 12th season this year with new robotics challenges for kids in first grade through high school.

The second year for the highly successful LegoWolves Division for first- to third-graders will take on Mother Nature in the new challenge "Disaster Blaster." These young kids will work with Lego pieces to construct a robotics model which relates to their current challenge which is to investigate how the awe-inspiring storms, quakes, waves, and more that we call natural disasters affect the lives of people. The kids will culminate their season in January in an event which celebrates their hard work and fun they had displaying their robotic models and poster boards.

The fourth- to eighth-grade LegoDogs Division will be working on FIRST's Nature's Fury. Teams will discover what can be done when intense natural events meet the places people live, work, and play. In the Nature's Fury Challenge, teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using Lego Mindstorms NXT to solve a set of missions as well as research, develop, and share their innovative nature solutions.

In the eighth- to 12th-grade Coyotes Division, there are two different competitions that the kids can participate. The VEX Toss Up Game is played on a 12- by 12-foot square field. Two alliances -- one "red" and one "blue" -- composed of two teams each, compete in matches consisting of a 15-second autonomous period followed by two minutes of driver-controlled play. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than your opponent alliance by scoring balls in goals and hanging there robot at the end of the game. The other Challenge for the Coyotes Division will be presented from FIRST and is released in early September.

The goals of the above programs are to have the kids "think beyond the box" and to have fun. The programs allow the kids to go beyond simple box instructions and to formulate the why and how on their own with guidance from instructors and mentors.

Informational meetings for those interested in joining will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, at Rotolo Middle School, 1501 S. Raddant, Batavia. Enter at doors N11.

The organization hosts competition events in December, February, and March with 30-60 teams attending in different robotic challenges. This year the FVR/BR organization was chosen as the host for the VEX Illinois State Competition which will be held on March 8.

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