Sometimes what’s required is to believe in yourself enough to follow through
In high schools across the country students attend class, head to practice, play in the “Big Game,” but more than 150,000 students participate in something a bit more intriguing, Robotics. These students are participating in a program called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics. A competition that challenges high school aged young people – working with professional mentors – to design, build a robot, and compete in an intense event… all in just 6 six weeks.
To create a world where science and technology are celebrated…where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes
—Dean Kamen, Inventor and founder of FIRST Robotics
The program was the vision of inventor Dean Kamen. He wanted to change the perception young people had about success and create an extra-curricular program that would rival the glorification of sports figures and the entertainment industry, so his next great invention? FIRST.
KCPT Producer Angee Simmons and videographers Don Mayberger and Dave Burkhardt followed three area high school robotics teams—- Shawnee Mission North, Raytown South and Liberty.
The teams are made up of ordinary high school students… homecoming queen candidates, high school jocks, cheerleaders, musicians, artists and yes the occasional Math Club member, but these young people are certainly not your calculator-toting-pocket-protector-wearing-geeks. They are ambitious young minds that learn how to work together to take on an incredible challenge with determination, professional guidance and a lot of science know-how.
In the 2007 game, “Rack N’ Roll,” students’ robots are designed to hang inflated colored tubes on pegs configured in rows and columns on a 120 foot high center “rack” structure. Extra points are scored by robots being in their home zone and lifted more than 4″ off the floor by another robot before the end of the 2 minute and 15 second match.
It’s every bit as exciting as any varsity-sporting event – it even looks like one… it has the field, the lights, and the cheering section to prove it… And just as Dean Kamen had hoped, it has become a unique approach. In Assembly Required we’ll see how these students and thousands more like them find inspiration in an event that will take them on a path of triumphs and failures to an accomplishment few can boast.
Production funding provided by: