COTC to host FIRST LEGO League Robotics Tournament

| December 7, 2012

NEWARK – Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and The Ohio State University at Newark will host and be the major sponsors for an Ohio FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Robotics Regional Tournament to be Saturday, Dec. 8, in the John Gilbert Reese Center. The event will include 20 central Ohio teams and marks the second consecutive year that an FLL tournament will be in Newark. The public is invited and welcome to attend the robot performance portion of the competition, which will be from 12:45 – 3:35 p.m. in the Reese Center’s Alford Performing Arts Hall.

FIRST LEGO League is a non-profit collaboration between the LEGO Company and the FIRST organization (an acronym meaning For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Its multidisciplinary program allows teams of 3 – 10 children, ages 9 – 14, to solve a real-life scientific problem through a combination of engineering, computer programming, problem-solving, research, presentation, and teamwork. The program, founded in 1989, is committed to exciting and inspiring children to excel in math and science through a fun yet challenging robotic competition. Last year alone, more than 212,000 youth participated in FIRST competitions in 50 states and 57 countries, creating 17,644 robots, according to the FIRST 2010 Annual Report.

Additionally, a study conducted by Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities provides clear, tangible evidence of FIRST’s impact on students’ education and career choices. When compared with the students from similar backgrounds and academic experiences who did not participate in the program, FIRST students are:

  • More than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
  • Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year.
  • Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree.
  • More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology.
  • Nearly four times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
  • More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.

Ohio FLL has been having tournaments since 2004. The Newark-Granville area has provided some exceptional teams to the Ohio competitions. Last year, three teams from Newark and Granville attended the state competition, with each team receiving acknowledgement with a trophy for outstanding achievement.

William L. MacDonald, dean and director at Ohio State Newark, has a personal connection to FIRST LEGO League. His own children have participated in past years.

“This engaging program really develops an early appreciation for science and engineering, and hosting a tournament is an ideal partnership opportunity for Ohio State Newark,” said MacDonald.

To support this important educational experience, COTC and Ohio State Newark are donating the use of the Reese Center and campus technical equipment including laptops, projectors and screens, staff liaisons and IT staff technical support, and providing a $1,300 sponsorship to the tournament coordinators, the Granville Robotics Organization. Time Warner Cable is a secondary tournament sponsor.

“For the second year, COTC is proud to be able to support this very critical program for area youth,” said COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D. “STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and training in related fields is important for the future of our country.”

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