Students Compete in Lego Robotics Match


WHAT: Student teams from 12 local elementary, middle and high schools will pit their software-enabled, battery-powered Lego robots against the clock in the 3rd Annual Southern California NASA Explorer School Robotics Competition at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., on Tues., March 17.

In a challenge that simulates planetary exploration, the tabletop-size robots must perform different tasks within two minutes. They include moving hematite rocks and a Quonset hut, placing sensors in caves and volcanoes, and rescuing a stranded "moon rat," or small robot. This robotic competition aims to engage students in math, science, technology and engineering.

Each team has four students. The contest will be divided into two sections: one for elementary-school teams, and the other for middle- and high-school teams.

The competition will also be broadcast live on the Web at http://education.jpl.nasa.gov/lego and http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasajpl .

The NASA Explorer Schools project is a three-year partnership between NASA and about 200 elementary and middle schools nationwide. The project teaches and encourages students to pursue disciplines critical to NASA's future engineering, science and technical missions. JPL and NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center are the local NASA partners for 25 schools in Southern California.

WHO: Twelve elementary, middle- and high-school teams from throughout Southern California (list of schools below).

WHEN: Tuesday, March 17, 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. The awards ceremony will be 3-3:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's von Karman Auditorium. JPL is located off the Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway. Visitor parking is to the left (west) of the JPL main guard gate, across the street from the JPL Visitor Center.

CONTACT: Media must RSVP in advance at 818-354-0850 or 818-354-5011. Valid media credentials are required. Non-U.S. citizens must also bring passports.

Participating NASA Explorer School teams

  • Charles T. Kranz Intermediate School, El Monte
  • Lake View Elementary School, Huntington Beach
  • Johnson Magnet School for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, San Diego
  • Mesa Union School, Somis
  • North Ridge Magnet School, Moreno Valley
  • Roosevelt Middle School, Glendale
  • San Cayetano Elementary School, Fillmore
  • Shirley Avenue Elementary School, Reseda
  • Sycamore Hills Elementary School, Fontana
  • Village Academy High School, Pomona
  • Vintage Math Science Technology Magnet School, North Hills
  • Jack Weaver School, Murrieta

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