A months-long competition culminates this weekend as teams of high school students from across Iowa have designed, built and programmed roving robots to face off against each other. Rebecca Whitaker, coordinator of the FIRST Tech Challenge through the University of Iowa College of Engineering, says the focus this year is on transportation and shipping — with hand-built robots.
The finals of the contest on Saturday will gather about 500 Iowa students from 48 teams at the Xtream Arena in Coralville. Whitaker says the goals of the program go well beyond science, technology, engineering and math.
The students are also learning important life lessons, like how to work as a team, how to effectively communicate with others, and how to handle failure — and success.
The “FIRST” in FIRST Tech Challenge means: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The competition on Saturday runs from 8:30 AM through 5 PM.