It was not Orson Welles' “The War of the Worlds,” but Martians battled Spartans, jelly fish, lions, tigers, and devils at Red Hook High School in December.
The school hosted “Rover Ruckus,” a FIRST Tech Challenge qualifying tournament which drew a total of sixteen teams from Saratoga to southern Westchester County.
The competition was the first for Red Hook High School’s newly formed Junior Varsity Robotics team “Red Storm.” Since the beginning of the year, the entire group has worked on all aspects of building and programming their robot. The team of freshman and sophomore students worked together to brainstorm and solve any design or construction issues that arose along the way. Although they spent time developing a strategy before the event, team members said that they really wanted to focus on getting the hang of competition and working together to learn and make some new friends.
FIRST, a non-profit organization based in New Hampshire, is an acronym for For Inspiration & Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST Tech Challenge is an international program designed to excite students in middle school and high school about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) topics. During “Rover Ruckus,” each team designated two operators and one coach for its robot. The group was then paired with another team in an alliance. The allied teams competed against another pair in a series of specific tasks. The goal was to encourage cooperation and foster the sharing of knowledge among teams.
Members and coaches of the Red Hook Varsity team, the “Robo-Raiders,” and family members from both of Red Hook’s teams, volunteered their time to help run the event. Funding was provided by local, regional and global sponsors.