4-H Week: New 4-H Robotics Club starting

OSU Extension in Washington County will be starting a new 4-H robotics club for youth. The club will offer two levels of participation including 4-H Club membership for youth in grades five thru 12 and a competitive FIRST (For Recognition and Inspiration of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge Team for teens ages 12 to 18.

A kick-off meeting will be held Monday, March 19, at the OSU Extension Office on 202 Davis Ave. starting at 6:30 p.m. 4-H offers two robotics projects using LEGO EV3 technology. Members will learn about robotic basics, steps to build a robot, how to use robotic sensors, and how to program a robot to complete various tasks.

“This kick-off is an opportunity for families to find out what the 4-H Robotics program is all about,” said Bruce Zimmer, Extension Educator with Ohio State University Extension. “The program is a chance for youth to have fun with Lego robots, all while learning valuable life skills like teamwork, communication, and problem solving. We have a new 4-H volunteer, John Smith that will be spearheading the new club. John is a retired computer consultant with a desire to teach robotics.”

The goal of the FIRST team is to take the fundamental of robotics covered in the 4-H Robotics projects to the next level using industrial-grade hardware, and Java programming on Android devices.

Like many of today’s high-tech areas, designing and building robots combines multiple disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, and software engineering. Each year a different game design encourages FIRST teams to scout the competition, design a specialized robot, and

develop a playbook of game strategies. Successful teams can advance from local, to state, to national, and international championships

Volunteer coaches are needed to assist youth in developing their own knowledge and problem solving skills. The new club and team can use both technical (engineering, programming, science, math) and non-technical (business, finance, fundraising, communications) mentors. No experience with robotics is required for either students or adults.

The club will meet a minimum of eight times during April thru July. Contact OSU Extension at 740-376-7431 for further details. If there is sufficient interest and commitment by area students and adults, an FTC team would be formed for the upcoming 2018-19 season. The competitive season runs from September to April. More information can be found at firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc or smithspace.org.

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