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Oakmont and Granite Bay Robots go head-to-head:  Sierra College CACT sees Future Tech Workers among Robotic Club Members

December 14, 2006

On December 14, 60 students from Oakmont and Granite Bay high schools pitted their robots against each other in an exciting competition combining minds and machines.

The sixteen teams of two to four students built 18”x18”x18” robots that moved, tossed and held on to softballs and an atlas exercise ball on a 12’ x 12’ field, modeled after a FIRST Robotics VEX game.   This is the first year that the two high schools offered robotics as an elective.  “It is a great way to teach physics and engineering through experience,” says Stephen Miller, Granite Bay High School teacher.

Some of the students that competed Thursday will apply what they learned as members of the new South Placer Robotics Club, which will participate in the FIRST Robotics regional competition (www.usfirst.org ) next spring. Beginning in January 2007, the club will have six weeks to design, build and program a robot to perform specific functions, using a common set of parts.

The Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) is providing technical assistance and other resources to the club, including media coverage, donations of materials and supplies, and recruiting of mentors.  “Parents and students ask us ‘what other kinds of opportunities can my son/daughter/I do in robotics?’ says Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CACT Director.  “We encourage them to enroll in Sierra’s new Mechatronics program.  It’s the next step for a high school student that has really enjoyed their robotics class or participated in a club.”

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