Tampa Bay Youth In Florida Robotics Competition

A group of 10 Tampa Bay middle and high school students plan to show off their teamwork and technical skills at FIRST Tech Challenge’s Florida State Championship on March 2 in Daytona Beach.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge
is an annual robotics competition for students in grades 7 to 12. The challenge is run by FIRST, a the national organization that fosters youth interest in science and technology.

Teams of up to 10 students are provided with a robot kit and asked to design, build and program their robots using a game scenario that changes from year to year. The students are judged based on robot performance, an engineering notebook which documents the design and building process, a team video and overall teamwork.

Team Duct Tape, sponsored by Learning is for Everyone, is a group of 13- to 15-year-olds with the philosophy: Character before Completion. Typically based out of just one high school, Team Duct is unique in that it includes students from public, private and home schools across the Tampa Bay region. 

Teams receive the challenge in September of each year. This year's challenge, called "RING IT UP," involves a tic tac toe game, where the robot has to grapple plastic rings and score them on a peg board. At the competition, teams are randomly paired with another team who could end up being their opponent in the next round. In addition to the technical skills required, students must learn to collaborate and stay professional throughout the process.

"These are important skills that we want kids to develop as we grow our tech community," says Terri Willingham, president of Learning is for Everyone.

The team will compete against 24 students for various awards and prizes, including scholarships. To financially support the  team by helping subsidize travel costs, visit the Team Duct Tape website.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Terri Willingham, Learning is for Everyone


Read more articles by Megan Hendricks.

A Florida native and longtime Tampa Bay resident, Megan Hendricks graduated from the University of South Florida with a master's degree in business administration. She worked at the USF College of Business and has extensive community experience including the Tampa Bay Partnership's Talent Dividend Advisory Board, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Emerge Tampa Bay, Ekhos, and Bar Camp Tampa. She is a former board member and newsletter editor for Creative Tampa Bay. Megan enjoys telling the stories that make Tampa Bay a unique, diverse cultural experience.  

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