Robotics Competitions Becoming More Like Athletic Events

By Professor Daniel Kohn I began running STEM Robotics Competitions over 11 years ago. I loved watching the students get psyched to learn STEM skills. Competitions continue to evolve. Tournaments capitalize on fun and entertainment for the participants, their families and other attending fans. 

Article: High school students filled the bleachers in crazy hats and team colors, waved pompoms and flags and whooped and hollered when their school name was mentioned. All the frenzy and school spirit was for the FIRST Robotic Competition, a program that challenges high school students to design and build a robot.

“It’s definitely cool,” said Kevin Leonard, a senior at Shenendehowa High School, of the competition. Shenendehowa was the first local school to participate in the robotics competition when it began 22 years ago. The first team, in 1992, had two students. This year, there were 113 students on the team, doing everything from concept to prototyping to construction to wiring. Part of the reason for the growth, according to Shen team members, is that robotics competitions are becoming more and more like athletic events. “It’s still expanding,” said Shen junior Paul Sargunas of the school’s robotics team. “It’s getting more exposure each year, and an atmosphere like this draws people in. It shows that science doesn’t have to be just sitting around doing something boring.” The Daily Gazette, by Bethany Bump