NASA grant to benefit Lynn Camp FIRST Robotics team

Lynn Camp’s “Wildbots” robotics team received an early gift this December from NASA to help sponsor their spring competitions.

Lynn Camp was one of two schools in Kentucky and one out of 213 in the country to receive a 2014 NASA Robotics Alliance Project, FIRST Robotics Competition, grant award.  The award funds will be used to help sponsor the team at their regional competition.

This is not Lynn Camp’s first year at robotics, in the past their robot has traveled to numerous competitions and been on display at community and athletic events.  The Wildbots FIRST Team was formed in 2011 with a $6500 grant from JCPenney and 4-H. The team has supplemented that over the past 2 years with a $6000 grant from NASA and by using federal Perkins funds to purchase equipment.  Since it was formed, the team has made a focused effort to lobby for STEM education in many varied venues including demonstrations at Aisin Automotive, Whayne Supply, Kentucky State Fair,  and UK Engineering Day among many others.

Dubbed by FIRST Robotics as a varsity Sport for the Mind, FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, each team must design a team “brand,” demonstrate teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.

The sports theme carries forward into the actual robotic task – last year’s robot was programmed to shoot basketball balls.

As sponsor Arthur Canada and the students will share, it’s as close to real world engineering as a student can get.

“These experiences will help students pursue futures as engineers and many other careers that we need in order to keep up with the world that’s constantly enhancing its knowledge of the technology around us,” stated Canada.

A kick off event is planned for FIRST Robotic schools on Saturday, January 4, 2014.   This event, as Canada explains, is kind of like having a coaches meeting at the beginning of basketball season each year.   With this year’s meeting, the teams will begin working towards building their robot to perform the tasks required.  The build period lasts for six weeks.

“Knox County and every other school district have sports teams, academic teams, and arts groups that teach teamwork, life skills, academic material, social skills to varying degrees,” shared Canada.  ‘The FIRST Robotics program teaches engineering problem solving skills that are in demand out there right now. It puts students in a position to network with real professionals and see careers that are not commonly apparent to H.S. students.”

Individuals and organizations that would like to sponsor the Lynn Camp “Wildbots” robot and help with other competition expenses are asked to contact Canada at Lynn Camp Schools, (606)528-5429.