And the hits keep on coming—
Last week, I had the pleasure of announcing the Outstanding STEM Teacher award earned by Washington DC SmartLab Facilitator Max Brooks. This week, I get to follow that act with the news that the Ronan High School robotics team, one of our SmartLab partners, is the 2011 First Tech Challenge World Championship Winning Alliance! The First Tech Challenge is a head-to-head robotics competition held at Dean Kamens annual International Robotics Celebration. This year’s world championships were help in St. Louis, MO., and featured over 600 teams from 29 countries. Wow!!
If you’re wondering (and you probably are), Ronan is a small rural town on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwest Montana. It’s not unusual to see the names of top silicon valley STEM magnet schools among the competition’s award winners. Based on what we know about the Ronan SmartLab program, we’d be hard pressed to call them underdogs, but it’s a victory for the “little guy” none the less!
Here’s a feature on the team from the local NBC affiliate after the team won nationals and qualified for the World Championships.
Robotics is one of the core systems of technology we integrate in our SmartLabs. Robotics challenges often involve complex systems of mechanics, sensors, and computer programming; research skills and artistic expression frequently play key roles as well. It’s creative problem-solving at its best! Dean Kamen’s FIRST robotics competitions offer teams of all ages a chance to test their engineering skills and we often see successful robotics teams grow from our SmartLab programs.
Jesse Gray, Ronan HS SmartLab Facilitator and robotics team coach, said,
“The SmartLab has played a huge part in the success of the robotics program here in Ronan. The lab is an ideal setup for students to have an opportunity to work with robotics. I have students each period that are working on individual robotics challenges that are initiated using the Learning Launchers. Each group of students has a different level of understanding and ability, but all experience success!”
Congratulations to Ronan High School’s SD30 Robotics Team – 2011 World Champs!!!