It’s a first FIRST in Columbus, and the public is invited to a free preview.
For the first time, a FIRST Robotics competition for high school students is coming to the city. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international not-for-profit organization for youth that also operates the FIRST LEGO League (grades 4-8), the FIRST LEGO League Jr. (K-3), and the FIRST Tech Challenge (7-12).
Saturday, a week before the competition, the Columbus Space Program will allow the public to watch the local FIRST Robotics team practice. The open house will be from noon to 3 p.m. in the former Marshall Middle School’s gym, 1830 Shepherd Drive, where the team will practice this year’s game, called FIRST Stronghold. The medieval-themed game tests the 150-pound robot’s ability to cross defenses, throw “boulders” into the opponent’s “tower” and scale a “castle” for victory.
Admission also will be free during the competition, March 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and March 12 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the Columbus Civic Center, 400 Fourth St. Approximately 600 students from 38 Georgia high schools will participate in the high-tech sporting event.
In FIRST Robotics, students learn from professional mentors as they design and built a robot. The competitions measure each robot’s effectiveness and each team’s collaboration and determination, according to the news release.
Last year, the Columbus Space Program’s FIRST Robotics squad, named FRC Team 4188, went from worst to first in the region. One month after finishing last out of 42 teams in Perry, Ga., the local students beat 65 other teams to win the tournament in Atlanta. That qualified them for the world championship in St. Louis, where they finished among the top 100.