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Robots will be everywhere Dec. 9 at the Hudson Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Alliance tournament hosted by Hudson High School for students ages 6 through 18.
Students on 44 robotic teams from schools in Northeast Ohio -- including Hudson, Kent, Tallmadge, Stow and Lyndhurst -- will gather from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Hudson High School to compete. The tournament is the first step for teams to qualify for regional, state, national and world championships.
The tournament will have three separate robotic competitions: a Junior For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology LEGO League Expo for ages 6 to 8, FIRSTLEGO League competition for ages 9 through 14, and FIRSTTech Challenge scrimmage for those 15 through 18 years old.
Younger teams, with students ages 6 to 8 years, will have an expo in the morning and design robot creations using LEGO building blocks. The students will talk about the designs and what motivated them.
The middle age group will create products designed to help senior citizens remain engaged or independent, or one that improves an existing project.
"That is just one component," said Dina Voinovich, coach for an all-girls team with students from Hudson Middle School, East Woods, McDowell School and one from Laurel School near Cleveland Heights. "It's not all just about robots."
Beginning at noon, teams in the middle age group will compete using robots they designed and built using LEGO pieces to accomplish a specific task. The students use NXT-G programming language, which selects blocks of commands and drop them into a sequence.
High school students will build metal 18-by-18-inch robots that move around a 12-foot field to accomplish a task.
Successful teams require members with a variety of skills who can use them together to accomplish a goal, according to Voinovich.
"There's something in robots that can appeal to a wide variety of skill sets," she said.
Students from Hudson public schools, private schools and home schooled will have six teams in the 6- to 8-year-old group, 20 teams in the middle group and 16 teams in the high school group. Teams will compete for honors and recognition for design excellence, competitive play, spirit and sportsmanship.
The public is invited to watch the robot competition in the gym at the high school. The table competitions, from noon to 2:30 p.m., typically provides the most excitement, Voinovich said.