SEATTLE – More than 125 teens from Washington 4-H clubs are building robots from scratch as part of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) regional competition. The event will be March 17-19 at QWEST Field in Seattle.
 
Eight Washington State University Extension 4-H teams received kits made up of motors, batteries, a control system, a personal computer and a mix of automation components – but no guidelines. Working with adult mentors, each team was given six weeks to design, build and program a robot.
 
“The youth have taught me a lot about tenacity,” said Jared Kessie, one of four adult volunteers in Benton/Franklin County. “My hope is that students gain a love and respect for math and science as well as learning to be innovative.”
 
Each team received $6,500 for the competition entrance fee – in addition to $3,500 for additional materials, supplies and travel to the event – from longstanding 4-H partner JC Penney.
 
“Our teams have built many new partnerships with schools, industry and community leaders,” said Janet Edwards, WSU Extension 4-H science specialist. “We are excited to partner with JC Penney and FIRST to bring 4-H science programs to students across the state to help prepare them for rewarding careers in science, engineering and technology.”
 
Teams are from these counties: Spokane, Pierce, Chelan/Douglas, Benton/Franklin, Clark, Cowlitz, Clallam and Grays Harbor.
 
For more information on the competition, visit http://firstwa.org and http://usfirst.org.