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Students of FIRST Robotics Brainstorm for Upcoming Steamworks Challenge

The FIRST Robotics team met over the weekend as competition season kicked off Saturday.

Over 50 students from Alpena, Alcona, and Posen high schools brainstormed to start the beginning of their robot designs that will be apart of 2017’s competition…

Here’s more on that story.

It’s time to start the competition, the FIRST Robotic 2017 competition that is. Saturday, the season kicked off revealing to the world a new challenge called Steamworks that members of the FIRST Robotics would have to complete.

Sunday, students from Alpena, Alcona, and Posen met at Alpena High School to participate in a strategy workshop. Each team will have six weeks to prepare their strategy and build robots that can earn points at this year’s competition.

“We’ve had a number of success with these teams. They each go to two different competitions in Northern Michigan this year. Most of them will be going over to Gaylord district competition and over to Traverse City for district competition. If they do well enough they then move on to a state competition in Grand Rapids in April and if they do well two weeks later they go on to world competition. Alpena high school has had a team at world competition the last two years,” Diamond said.

Engineers from around the Alpena area worked with students Sunday. Diamond said the engineers build relationships with the students over time and actually have a major impact on their future. When it comes to building robots, it’s all about patience and listening to your teammates.

“The collective idea of all the kids is much more powerful than the collective idea than the smartest kid. Kids learn that. They learn the opportunity to listen to other kids, and listen to ideas, and build on ideas and not be critically of every idea that comes up. And the teams that do that generally do very well,”

Diamond added.Making the robots can be very expensive. Friday the FIRST Robotics held a fundraiser event to help with cost for this year’s competition. When it comes to funds, science teacher Melissa Doubek said it wouldn’t be possible without the community support.

“Our community is supporting us both financially as well as with mentors for teaching the kids the mechanics. We would not be able to do this without the youth and rec’s supporting us, and ESI, and little fundraisers that we’re doing. So we are appreciative of everything that everybody’s doing for the kids and us, to develop economic growth in the community,” Doubek said.

WBKB News will be keeping up with the students over the six-week course to see what type of robots they create to take to the competition this spring.

For WBKB News in Alpena, I’m Star Connor.