The drama of competition filled Polytechnic Institute of NYU’s gymnasium on January 10 when more than 350 students from 37 middle and high schools took part in the Brooklyn finals of the New York City FIRST Lego League Championship.
The day was the culmination of weeks of designing, building, and testing of autonomous robots using engineering concepts. FIRST, or “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” the non-profit organization that conducted the competition, inspires young adults from around the globe to seek careers and education in science and technology. Its programs include the FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students, and Junior FIRST Lego League for students aged 6 to 9.
According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which featured the Lego event on the cover of its January 13 issue, “for some competitors there was triumph, for others despair – when their robots flipped over or crashed…But for all, it was an experience that left them high on technology and determined to build a better robot next year.”
“[The students] learn that learning is fun, and they learn applied science,” said Dr. Noel N. Kriftcher, executive director of the David Packard Center for Technology and Educational Alliances at Polytechnic. Dr. Kriftcher coordinates the robotics program with Professors Vikram Kapila and Magued Iskander.
Six of the 13 NYU-Poly-mentored teams will go on to compete in the citywide finals on March 7 at the Javits Center. The event is open to the public.
The National Science Foundation awarded NYU-Poly a $3 million/5-year GK-12 Fellows grant to fund its Applying Mechatronics to Promote Science program. The Independence Community Foundation and additional funding from JP Morgan Chase supports the school’s Central Brooklyn Robotics Initiative. Further support to enhance AMPS/CBRI projects comes from a Motorola Innovation Generation Grant and the New York Space Grant Consortium.
Below is an excerpt from the Daily Eagle about Park Slope’s M.S. 51 team, which won the event’s Research Award (read the full article “Crowds Roar as Robots Compete in Brooklyn”).