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CHIPS Articles: NAVWAR Co-hosts Robotics Tournament; Encourages Students to Explore Creative Solutions in STEM

NAVWAR Co-hosts Robotics Tournament; Encourages Students to Explore Creative Solutions in STEM
By Elisha Gamboa, Naval Information Warfare Systems Command - November 1, 2019
Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) volunteers will be on hand to encourage students to tackle difficult challenges and build creative solutions using robotics during San Diego’s 11th annual For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) LEGO League (FLL) qualifying tournament Nov. 2 at Eastlake High School.

NAVWAR enterprise and Eastlake High School are working together to co-host the event, with more than 50 volunteers from NAVWAR headquarters and its research and development lab, Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific, serving as mentors, coaches, referees, judges, timekeepers, scorekeepers, inspectors and more.

FLL is a nation-wide program that exposes students to real-world engineering challenges and software programming techniques through the creation of LEGO robots.

NAVWAR Executive Director Pat Sullivan will serve as the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony where he will talk about the importance of fostering innovation and creativity in today’s youth through programs like FIRST.

“The ability to solve problems is vital in today’s increasingly technological environment,” said Sullivan. “Problem solving starts with fostering curiosity, creativity and critical thinking from a very young age, and what better way to spark interest in STEM than with robotics? Robotics programs like FIRST take STEM subjects and encourage students to apply them to real-world problems, allowing students to understand how their hard work is relevant and valuable to the world around them.”

During the event 24 teams consisting of up to 10 students each, ages 9 to 14 years old, will compete in four areas including core values, robot design, a research project and a live robot game. Of the 24 teams competing, NAVWAR enterprise personnel is mentoring five teams.

Winning teams from this year’s FLL qualifying tournament will move on to compete in the FLL Southern California Regional Championship scheduled for early December at LEGOLAND California. Following the regional championship, some teams will earn an invitation to the FIRST LEGO League World Festival as part of FIRST Championship Houston or FIRST Championship Detroit, where teams from all over the world meet and compete.

NAVWAR identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities and services that enable naval, joint, coalition and other national missions operating in warfighting domains from seabed to space. NAVWAR consists of more than 11,000 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world.

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