Take a robot named Gatorzilla for a spin
If you're looking to learn a little about science and technology, help a great group of students and drive a robot built by those students all while enjoying an afternoon at the Kemah Boardwalk, then have I got a deal for you!
Consider this your personal invitation to come out to the Boardwalk on Saturday, Nov. 21 from noon until 6 pm and be amazed by the work of 15 students from Dickinson High School.
For a donation, you will be able to drive the award-winning robot, Gatorzilla, and attempt to score as many points as possible within a 1 minute time period. We will have fun events for kids of all ages; from young children to their parents and grandparents.
This past spring, a group of hardworking students from Dickinson High School participated in their rookie season of FIRST Robotics. With a team comprised of mostly freshmen, the students designed and built a very competitive and reliable robot. The Gatorzillas performed extremely well at the Lonestar Regional in Houston (above video shows this competition) and won the 2009 Rookie All-Star Award at that event. The award qualified our young rookie team to compete with nearly 350 of the best teams in the world at the 2009 FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) National Championship event in Atlanta, GA. At the Championship, our students performed amazingly on the playing field and won even more awards. We're looking for even more success this year.
Unlike football, basketball and the other usual high school competitions, the game rules for FIRST Robotics are completely different each year. The robots weigh about 150 pounds and are nearly five feet tall, but the tasks that the robots are built to perform are never the same from year to year.
Additional Youtube.com videos of the Dickinson High School Gatorzillas in action:
Winning the Semifinals match at 2009 LoneStar Regional
Testing at Dickinson High School prior to the competitions
FIRST (www.usfirst.org) is an acronym meaning For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST was started in 1992 by Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway Scooter and many other cool things) as a way to inspire our youth to get excited about math, science and technology. In Dean's own words, FIRST was started to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
The FIRST Robotics program succeeds at this goal of inspiring students by allowing them to work side-by-side with professional scientists and engineers. The students get a chance to see first-hand what it is like to work in the science and technology industries while designing, prototyping, building and testing a robot during a busy and exciting six-week build season and then competing with other schools. There are over 2000 teams in the United States and around the world competing in FIRST Robotics. To ensure that all of the teams have the exact same amount of time to prepare, the build season is strictly limited to just over 6 weeks. The game rules are released in early January each year and by mid February the robots are packed up and shipped off in preparation for the competitions. There are over 40 regional competitions throughout the country plus the National Championship event in Atlanta.
As you may imagine, there are plenty of expenses involved in buying parts to prototype, build and test the robot, traveling to the competitions, paying for meals and hotel stays and much more. The students are more than happy to do all of the hard work to bring home even more trophies, but they are asking for your help to offset the expenses required to maintain their winning tradition.
A generous donation of just a few dollars will provide you with the opportunity to take the controls of our robot. We will even have a scoreboard to keep track of the high scores for the day. Challenge your friends and family to see who can score the most points. Come out and enjoy a great dat at the boardwalk and perhaps everyone will see your name at the top of the scoreboard.
We are also actively looking for corporate sponsors for our team. So if your business would like to be a proud member of the Gatorzilla Family, please don't hesitate to come out and be a part of the fun! We would be happy to have you on our team.
In the event of rain on the 21st, the event will be postponed to a later date. Keep informed about any updates by following our twitter page or our team's webpage.
Authors Note: I have personally been heavily involved in FIRST Robotics for ten years and I've seen first hand the impact that this program has on the future of America's students. Please come support our tomorrow's scientists and engineers!
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