Elizabeth Landau covers the technology beat for the Media Relations Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL technology and related media inquiries can be directed to: Elizabeth Landau, 818-354-6425, Elizabeth.Landau@jpl.nasa.gov
Sixty-six teams from Southern California, Hawaii, Colombia and Chile competed in the Los Angeles regional FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition on March 13 and 14. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, sponsored seven teams in this annual engineering and technology contest, which was held at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Winning teams for the overall regional competition were from Hope Chapel Academy, Hermosa Beach, California; Atascadero High School and Beverly Hills High School. Hawthorne High School received the competition's highest honor, the Regional Chairman's Award.
This year's challenge, "Recycle Rush" was a recycling-themed game played by two alliances of three robots each. Robots score points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and properly disposing of pool noodles, representing litter. In keeping with the recycling theme of the game, all game pieces used are reusable or recyclable by teams in their home locations or by FIRST at the end of the season.
Working with adult mentors, students have six weeks to design, build, program and test their robots to meet the season's engineering challenge. The teams then participate in one or more of 105 regional and district events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration and the determination of students.
The participants are vying to compete in the FIRST Championship to be held April 22-25 in St. Louis, Missouri. FIRST is part of NASA's Robotics Alliance Project, which aims to expand the number of robotics systems experts available to NASA.
More information and a short video about FIRST are at: http://www.usfirst.org
More information on NASA's Robotics Alliance Project is at: http://robotics.nasa.gov
Discover more competitions sponsored by JPL: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/index.cfm?page=384
Arcadia High School took first place at the Ocean Sciences Bowl regional competition at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on Feb. 28.
The team consisted of four main players, an alternate and a coach. They beat out 11 other teams from California high schools, and won a trip to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals in Ocean Springs, Mississippi from April 23 to 26 at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.
A team from Santa Monica High School won second place, and Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet School, Los Angeles, came in third.
Questions touched upon biology, chemistry, geology and physics of the oceans, as well as navigation, geography and related history and literature. A variety of aquatic facts -- such as, which of the Great Lakes is the deepest and coldest (Lake Superior) and how many seaports are in the United States (361) -- arose in the final rounds.
This is Arcadia's third year in a row winning the regional "Surf Bowl." It's clear that students take it seriously: Arcadia captain Kathy Lee, a senior said her team meets for two hours twice a week to practice throughout the year. "We have our own buzzer set," she said.
For more information about the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, visit: http://nosb.org
To learn more about JPL-sponsored team competitions, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/index.cfm?page=384
Arcadia High School triumphed at the National Science Bowl regional competition at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The event was held Jan. 31.
The team, consisting of four main players, an alternate and a coach, reigned supreme against 23 other teams from Southern California. Team members earned a trip to the National Science Bowl finals in Washington, which will be held April 30 through May 4.
The format of the competition resembled a fast-paced game show, with students buzzing in to answer questions at the college freshman level. They were not permitted to use calculators or notes. The questions spanned various topics in Earth and space sciences, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics and math.
Contestants at JPL proved themselves quick-witted in a wide range of questions - for instance, knowing that 1,600 + 81 makes a perfect square. Many people in the audience were awed whenever students buzzed in with correct answers before the announcer had finished asking the question.
The second-place team, from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, gave the Arcadia team a suspenseful challenge as the competition neared its end. The two teams tied at 82 points at one point, resulting in a tiebreaker that Dos Pueblos won. But Arcadia made a comeback in the very last match. Santa Monica High School placed third.
All members of the Arcadia team are high school seniors, and all said that they want to pursue mathematics, science or computer science in college. One team member, Chris Chi, already works in a biology lab.
"We all do a lot of science in our spare time," said Kevin Wang, captain of the Arcadia team.
The National Science Bowl is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in science or math. Over the 24-year history of the competition, about 240,000 students have participated. JPL, managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology, has hosted the regional Science Bowl for 23 years.
For information about the National Science Bowl, visit: http://science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/