It’s robotics season: You be the judge | AspenTimes.com

It’s robotics season: You be the judge

Dear Editor:

Robotics season is upon us in the Roaring Fork Valley, and we need the help of the community. This year, seven teams from the Aspen School District and teams from Roaring Fork, Eagle, Rifle and Grand Junction will compete at the Nov. 10 First Lego League Mountain Qualifier at Glenwood Springs High School.

More than 150 middle schoolers will tackle the robotics missions and the problems of aging in this year’s Senior Solutions Challenge. We are looking for adults to serve as judges and referees for the day and offer wisdom and support to students ages 9 to 14 who might be tomorrow’s engineers. You don’t need any experience. All you need to do is give up a day to interview students and listen to their ideas about how to make the world a better place for our growing senior population.

First Lego League is a program founded by inventor Dean Kamen that offers students a chance to research current topics and engage in a sport for the mind through robotics. This is the third year that Aspen Middle School is hosting the tournament along with Glenwood Springs High School. This year’s challenge asks middle schoolers to consider the problems of aging that all people will face eventually. Can First Lego League teams improve the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged and connected in their communities?

In the 2012 Senior Solutions Challenge, more than 200,000 children, ages 9 to 16, from more than 60 countries will explore the topic of aging and how it might affect a person’s ability to maintain his or her lifestyle – solving issues such as getting around, keeping in touch or staying fit. The students have been working with a senior partner in the community to devise an innovative project, and they will share them at an all-day competition.

If you would like to get involved with the tournament, support the growing robotics program or learn more about the Us First program, go to http://www.usfirst.org or contact Caroline Hanson, Aspen Middle School ascent teacher and tournament director, at chanson@aspenk12.net. We already have the support of many community members and parents of our students. Our teams would love to share ideas with even more of the community.

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Thank you for your support!

Caroline Hanson

Ascent teacher and robotics coach

Aspen Middle School