NASA is looking for great diversity of hands-on problem solvers
to enable future aerospace projects and research. The United States
and the world need hands-on problem solvers for economically, ecologically
and politically sustainable development.
Hands-on technical activities can be both fun and educational experiences
for future engineers, scientists, project leaders, and citizens
of diverse interests.
K-12 students, working in teams under the direction of knowledgeable
teachers and coaches, can learn about technical problem solving
by participating in robotics competitions. Mini-projects for robotics
competitions require the application of physics, math, and communication
skills in a problem solving environment that is an important and
exciting educational activity.
Here are three robotics competition problems that can be easily
replicated in a school or community venue and provide a challenge
for students with FIRST LEGO League or Botball robotics kits:
- LEGO-based Sumo Challenge: Two
autonomous LEGO robots face-off on a small game board inside
a perimeter defined by two concentric black lines. The last
one to touch the outer line wins.
- Line Running Challenge: Similar
to a warm up exercise for basket ball, this is a timed race
to find the fastest robot to run from a starting point to each
of three farther lines and return.
- Line Following Challenge:
This timed race requires following a path with both curved and
straight line segments to find the fastest robot which can follow
We suggest holding community demonstrations
and competitions using these challenges and then send
Terry Grant an e-mail with the winners and the lessons learned.