Spectators are welcome to check out the action as teams of high school students put their robots to the test in a weekend of competition and camaraderie.
Culminating an intense six weeks of preparation, 31 teams of students in grades 9 through 12 from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont will descend on Fairfield’s Alumni Hall with 120-pound robots they have designed, built, and programmed to compete in this year’s exciting new FIRST game, called “POWER UP.”
The “POWER UP” game combines the excitement of a sporting event with the rigors of science and technology, pitting three-team alliances against one another when they find themselves trapped in an 8-bit video game. Each match begins with an autonomous period, when the robots operate independently following preprogrammed instructions. Then the teen operators take control, challenged to employ multiple ways to amass points by collecting power cubes. The alliance with the highest score at the end of each match wins the round and advances to the next level of competition.
Organized and run by FIRST (“For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”), a not-for-profit organization based in Manchester, N.H., this two-day competition promises to be an intense, fun-filled, team-building experience for the more than 200 participating teens. FIRST was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen, who has described its mission as “to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21st century work-life skills.”
Opening ceremonies for the FIRST Robotics Competition at Alumni Hall will take place on Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 a.m., and qualification matches will run until 7 p.m. that day. On Sunday, March 18, opening ceremonies will be at 9 a.m. and the day will end with a 5 p.m. awards ceremony. The weekend-long event is free and open to the public. Families, friends, and spectators are encouraged to stop by Fairfield University's campus to check out the "POWER UP" matches and cheer for both the robots and the 200+ talented teens who created them. Click here for more information.