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MSU hosts robotics competition to promote STEM learning

Posted at 11:36 AM, Jan 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-27 13:36:40-05

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Montana State University hosted two days of robotics competition at Shroyer Gym on Friday and Saturday to promote science, technology, engineering, and math. 

Seventy teams from all over Montana competed in the tournament. On Friday the FIRST ( For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge brought was for high school students. The FIRST LEGO competition was battle between students grades 4-8, to see whose LEGO robot could complete the most tasks in 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Team Brickfinity from Billings, MT wore green alien caps to coordinate with the theme of space. Teammate Noelle Englehart said the competition is stressful but an overall good time.

“It’s like the satisfaction that you get when you program robots and it works successfully when it hasn’t before; it just gives you a good feeling that you did something right,” said Englehart.

For her teammate Chloe Tschetter it’s not just about having fun, it’s about finding solutions to complicated problems.

“I like engineering and robotics,” said Tschetter. “It interests me a lot and its a lot of fun working together and when it works, it is just so rewarding. So I think that is one of the most fun parts.”

Associate Dean for Student Success Christine Foreman said when children are introduced to STEM at a young age they are able to learn more at a faster rate.

“So they learn that teamwork,” said Foreman. “They learn how to problem solve and how to disagree and how to still move forward. So I think that is one of my favorite things about this program. There is the technical but there is also that ability to learn how to be a good citizen.”

The championship teams from the competition advanced to the World Festival FIRST LEGO Championship in Houston, Texas from April 17-20. Every student who participated received a medal and the team who placed got trophies made out of LEGOs.