AMES, Iowa -- Young engineers have the chance to stretch their imaginations and build their skills at the Iowa 4-H Robotics Challenge at the 2010 Iowa State Fair.
“Robots are a really fun platform for students to practice engineering skills and thinking skills,” said Holly Bignall, Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET) coordinator with the Iowa State University 4-H Youth Development program.
A 'real time' challenge
The robotics design challenge will be in “real time,” meaning that competitors will not receive the details of their challenges until the day of the event. Teams composed of three to 10 youth and up to two adult coaches will arrive at the 4-H Exhibits Building on Aug. 15 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. At least one team member must be a 4-H’er.
4-H Robotics Challenge from Iowa State University Extension on Vimeo.
Each team will receive two challenges.
- LEGO Mindstorms® NXT Challenge: Design, build and program a robot that can accomplish a specific goal. Teams will be provided a robot kit, but they must have experience with LEGO Mindstorms® NXT robots.
- Junkdrawer Challenge: This challenge tests the ingenuity and teamwork of the competitors. Each team will be given identical drawers full of materials. The challenge is to design and build a robot capable of accomplishing a specified task from only the materials given in the "junk drawer."
Teams will be divided into two divisions, which will build their robots simultaneously in different areas of the 4-H Exhibits Building. Members of the junior division must have completed fifth through eighth grades in the 2009-2010 school year. Members of the senior division must have completed eighth through 12th grades in the 2009- 2010 school year.
The event, which lasts from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., starts with the Challenge Release, where teams receive details of the challenges their robots must accomplish. The teams then will design two distinct robots during the work period and will be able to show off their work on the main stage.
A 4-H Robotics challenge was held for the Iowa 4-H Foundation 60th Anniversary Gala in February, Bignall said. Students, parents and mentors thought the event was an extremely fun way to practice using the engineering design process. Some of the most noticeable positive outcomes were creativity and teamwork.
Register by July 26
For the upcoming event, each robotics design team must fill out the online registration form by July 26. The team leader will receive the Robotics Team Packet with participation guidelines and details, additional team forms, tickets to the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 15 for each team member and parking passes for the Iowa State Fair.
For more information, visit the Robotics Challenge website, www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/StateFair/roboticschallenge.htm, or send an email message to Daniel Stiner at email@example.com. For information on joining 4-H, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/.
About the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America with programs in leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. One in five Iowa school-age youth participates in 4-H. In Iowa, 4-H Youth Development is headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. 4-H is supported by federal, state and county funding, private grants and donations, and fees. For more information about joining 4-H, contact your Iowa State University Extension county office at www.extension.iastate.edu/content/county-offices/ or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4H.