Science and technology heroes

It was Dean Kamen –  the inventor of the Segway and a version of the artificial heart – who established F.I.R.S.T.*  His vision was:

“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.”

Last year we introduced lego robotics to 5th and 6th grade science. This year we started an after school lego robotics team. And yesterday we hosted a qualifying tournament for the second annual Hudson Valley F.I.R.S.T.* lego league. Many thanks to John Houston for bringing this event to PDS and working so tirelessly with the teams.

The theme for the 2009-2010 season is “Smart Move” and teams investigated many aspects of transportation systems including missions related to transportation safety, collecting objects, manipulating them, and transporting them to different locations.

Gracious professionalism and fun – the words are from the Hudson Valley F.I.R.S.T. lego league creed that also espouses teamwork, learning with mentors, friendly competition, discovery and sharing. They were all on display at PDS yesterday as the teams took over Gilkeson with their robots, models, umpires and team spirit. And thanks to parent volunteers led by Mimica Hyman, we welcomed them not just with open arms but with a cornucopia of baked goods, pizza and customized table decorations. Quite amazing.

Tournament director George Swain writes:

What a day it was!  Twelve Hudson Valley teams from as nearby as Wappingers Falls, Millbrook and Rhinebeck and as far afield as Ballston Spa and Albany came to PDS.  PDS brought three junior teams and one senior team to participate.  Senior teams competed in four areas: robot design, teamwork, research and robot performance.

Our senior team won FIRST PRIZE in the research competition.

Congratulations to all PDS students who participated and volunteered their time. Special thanks to coaches Bryan Del Bene and John Houston and to volunteers Emma Sears, Laura Graceffa, Steve Mallet, David Held, Aaron Lieberman, Debby McLean, as well as Mimica Hyman, Mark Schlessman, Beth Brofman, Alaster McLean and the many other parents who made this event such a success.

The gym, the Chapman Room and Gilkeson classrooms  were transformed as teams demonstrated their expertise in the four categories: robot performance, robot design, research presentation and teamwork. We were delighted to welcome all the teams,  their coaches and supporters and also to welcome Dr. Casimer DeCusatis, Founder and Director, of the  League and Distinguished Engineer at  IBM Corp, Poughkeepsie, NY.

More photographs on the PDS Facebook page. Check it out, become a fan.

* F.I.R.S.T. = For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

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