March 8, 2011

Student LEGO Robotics Competition: Watch, Cheer and Send Questions

Student teams from nine local elementary, middle and high schools will put their software-enabled, battery-powered LEGO robots against the clock in the 5th Annual Southern California Robotics Competition at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., on Tues., March 15.

The competition will also be broadcast live on the Web at from 12:15 to 3:15 p.m. (Pacific). Please see a detailed schedule below.

Classrooms are also invited to send questions in advance about careers in robotics to [email protected] . During the career talk portion of the live program, NASA/JPL robotics engineer Paulo Younse will answer some pre-submitted questions. All questions must be received by Friday, Mar. 11. Questions should be along the lines of "careers in robotics." Please include either student's first name only or school name. (No last names of students will be used.)

In a challenge that simulates planetary exploration, the tabletop-size robots must perform different tasks within two minutes. They include placing sensors in volcanoes, deploying habitats, and rescuing a stranded "moon buggy," or small robot. This robotic competition aims to engage students in math, science, technology and engineering.

Each team has four students. The contest will be divided into two sections: one for elementary-school teams, and the other for middle- and high-school teams.

Detailed program schedule (All times listed in Pacific):

12:15 to 2 p.m. - Competition rounds
2 p.m. - 15-minute break
2:15 p.m. - NASA/JPL robotics engineer Paulo Younse addresses students and discusses careers in robotics, engineering, science
2:45 p.m. - Awards ceremony
3:15 p.m. - End of program

The 17 teams from nine schools that will participate are:

Charles T. Kranz Intermediate School, El Monte
Lake View Elementary School, Huntington Beach
Johnson STEM Magnet School, San Diego
Mesa Union School, Somis
North Ridge Magnet School, Moreno Valley
Roosevelt Middle School, Glendale
Sycamore Hills Elementary School, Fontana
Village Academy High School, Pomona
Vintage Math Science Technology Magnet School, North Hills