Robots are taking over the Convention Center

0 Comments 📅April 1st, 2011, 15:10

KCC_robotics-300x225Consider this scenario:

You’ve got a box of parts and six weeks in which to complete the following charge: Use those parts to construct a robot that can hang as many inflated plastic shapes as possible on high-hanging grids within two minutes and 15 seconds. Your robot should then deploy mini-bots that will climb vertical poles. Preferably, it will also hang and assemble pieces to form a logo.

What would you do? I know what I’d do. Call for help!

That scenario is reality for 50 teams of students hailing from across the country and several from right here in East Tennessee. Starting today and continuing through Saturday, April 2, these innovative students will take part in the Smoky Mountain Regional, one of the largest regional FIRST® Robotics Competitions. The competition takes place here at the Knoxville Convention Center.

I love this competition, and I’m honored that the Convention Center was selected to host it for several reasons.

First, I’m a big believer in the importance of education. This competition gets kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which is so important in our 21st century learning environment. It also provides a fun environment for students to build – and use – knowledge and skills that will serve them a lifetime while gaining valuable experience in working as part of a team.

Second, tourism officials estimate the event will bring more than $649,000 in economic impact to the Knoxville community. I know our local businesses will be happy to have the extra business, and I’m happy that the Convention Center can be part of making that possible.

Finally, this event is free and open to the public. The competitions take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Friday and Saturday. I hope that parents will take this opportunity to attend a fun, free family-friendly activity that may inspire their children to embrace learning in a new way.

Our local teams represent Knoxville Catholic High School, Hardin Valley Academy, Webb School of Knoxville, Farragut High School and Seymour High School. I hope you’ll come out and support their efforts.

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