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NASA Explorer Schools Compete in Lego Robotics Contest
March 18, 2009
 

Students race their lego robots.Students from San Cayetano Elementary School race their robots. (NASA/JPL photo) Fillmore's San Cayetano Elementary School and Mesa Union School from Somis captured top honors at the third annual Southern California NASA Explorer Schools Robotics Competition at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Flintridge-La Canada on Tuesday, March 17. The winning schools were two of 12 NASA Explorer elementary, middle and high schools that brought 21 teams to the Lego robotics competition.

The student teams pitted their software-enabled Lego robots against the clock. The tabletop ro-bots had to perform different tasks, such as retrieving planetary mineral formations and rescuing a stranded "moon rat," or small robot, within two minutes. Students built and programmed their Lego robots over several months using laptop computers for this competition, which was de-signed to engage them in math, science, technology and engineering.

Video of the competition, as well as a presentation about engineering and technology careers given by JPL quality-assurance engineer Curtis Wilkerson after the competition, is archived at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasajpl .

The NASA Explorer Schools project is a three-year partnership between NASA and about 200 schools nationwide. JPL and NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., are the local NASA partners for 25 schools in Southern California. The project teaches and encourages students to pursue disciplines critical to NASA's future engineering, science and technical mis-sions.

Among the winners in the competition, San Cayetano Elementary's status as a NASA Explorer School is sponsored by NASA Dryden, while NASA JPL sponsors the remaining five winning schools.

ELEMENTARY DIVISION
1st place: "Astro Eagles," San Cayetano Elementary School, Fillmore
2nd place: "NXT Tiger Team II," Johnson Magnet School, San Diego
3rd place: "Robotic Troopers," North Ridge Magnet School, Moreno Valley

SECONDARY DIVISION
1st place: "Shockwave," Mesa Union School, Somis
2nd place: "Robo Kings," Jack Weaver School, Murrieta
3rd place: "My 3 J's," Village Academy High School, Pomona

Rhea Borja
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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