Articles by Jim Babb
A pair of high-intensity robotics tournaments are heating up the winter landscape in Richmond, as top scholastic teams from across Virginia and beyond are drawn to the contests.
The challenge: build a remote-controlled robot that can stack storage totes, place a large recycling bin on top, and grapple with plastic pool noodles that the opposition is scattering across the competition floor.
More students in far flung rural districts and in urban schools serving disadvantaged communities are getting a chance to gain hands-on experience building tech skills, teamwork and problem solving thanks to Virginia’s fast-growing FIRST Tech Challenge program.
Speaking from the student perspective, two Richmond area high school juniors have called on Virginia lawmakers to expand opportunities for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives in underserved communities.
With team names like “The Loose Screws,” “Robo Warriors” and “Geeks in Just Their Underpants,” it was a safe bet the FIRST Tech Challenge Virginia Championship would not be your average scholastic event. True to form, the daylong robotics tournament in Richmond March 1st mixed equal parts technical ingenuity, competitive spirit and uncanny humor.