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FIRST Robotics Students Inspire State Board of Education

June 12, 2018

On April 26-28, the Detroit - For Inspiration Recognition of Science & Technology (FIRST) World Championships were held, hosting over 15,000 students and 40,000 spectators from all around the world, including of 111 Michigan teams. It is with great excitement that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) share two Michigan teams, Stryke Force, Kalamazoo and Team RUSH, Clarkston were part of the winning alliance for this year's game, FIRST POWER UPSM.

The State Board of Education (SBE) celebrated the success of the Stryke Force, Kalamazoo and Team RUSH, Clarkston FIRST Robotics teams by honoring them at the June 12 board meeting. Their presentation demonstrated the level of technical capacity, educational excellence, and 21st Century competencies achieved by these students and the students participating in the 1400 teams across the state.

Stryke Force had students Sierra Staunton and Kjersten Lindbloom, present. Sierra shared, “We work to inspire others, because FIRST inspires us. Through FIRST, STEM is accessible.”

Team RUSH had students Valentina Vargas, Jessica Ray, and Jason Richards present. Valentina shared that Team RUSH, “aims to create self-confident leaders who inspire others to celebrate STEM.” The students from Team RUSH shared that they work to fail faster in order to learn more to ensure they are focused and execute their mission.

Both teams shared that the FIRST Digital Badges allow them to demonstrate to colleges and industry their mastery of high valued 21st Century skills. SBE member, Lupe Ramos-Montigny stated, “I’m encouraged and inspired by you. You are on to great success.”

All State Board members and Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles congratulated the teams for their success at the 2018FIRST World Championship and thanked them for their attendance and presentation.

Many other Michigan teams were awarded with high honors at the Detroit-FIRST Robotics World Championship. Team 2834, Bionic Black Hawks, Bloomfield Hills, won the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor given at the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship. This award recognizes the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. Michigan teams were represented in every subdivision winners, as well.

The FIRST Robotics Program empower students to demonstrate their competency in learning in a variety of ways. They have opportunities to solve problems that leverages the power of technology by developing and testing solutions in creative and imaginative ways. They are able to construct knowledge and make meaning of their learning experience for themselves. Students become global collaborators by utilizing technology to make connections with others to broaden perspective and learning through the creation of original products.  

This program supports Michigan’s Top 10 in 10 strategic plan by supporting Goal Two, strategy 2.6 and 2.7 by engaging students in well-rounded learning experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), language, business, culture, and creativity, as well as providing access to personalized learning technologies that support and enhance those learning experiences.

The MDE is looking forward to supporting the FIRST Robotics grant program in the 2018-19 school year through continued commitment of grant funding. The 2018-19 and 2019-20 FIRST Robotics World Championships once again will be hosted in Michigan.