Gorge First Tech Challenge comes to The Dalles Jan. 31

Families and robot lovers of all ages are invited to watch the fun at the Columbia Gorge First Tech Challenge (FTC) Tournament on Jan. 31 at The Dalles Middle School (1100 E. 12th St.). This free all-day event is the local qualifier for the international FTC robotics competition for students in 7th to 12th grades. Best public viewing is from noon to 3 p.m.

In this sports-style competition, teams of up to 10 students have been working since September to design, build and program their robots to compete on a 12-by-12-foot field against other teams. Robots are about 18-inches square and are built using a Tetrix platform that is reusable from year-to-year using a variety of programming languages.

The match starts with a 30-second autonomous period where robots are operated via pre-programmed instructions only. A two-minute driver-controlled period follows where teams compete to score the most points.

This year’s challenge, called the Cascade Effect, has the robots trying to score with 160 large and small white plastic balls into two center goals or six rolling goals with clear tubes of various heights.

This event is being hosted by the students of The Dalles High School FTC Teams, coached by Bev Froemming. Support is provided by the Gorge Tech Alliance and sponsorship from Boeing. FTC teams from middle schools and high schools all around the Gorge will be competing at this event. The competition should be especially fun for families with students interested in getting into robotics themselves.

Organizers need many volunteers to help on the day of the event. There is no robotics experience required, just a desire to have fun.

Contact Bev Froemming at froemmingb@nwas-co.k12.or.us or 541-506-3400 Ext 2217 to help.

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