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OSHEAN Supports Robotics Competition

North Kingstown High School is entering a new era in bridging technology with classroom instruction. The school’s robotics program has grown significantly in recent years under the guidance of AP Physics instructor Richard Powell. As the chairperson of the Robotics initiative, Mr. Powell guides students in their efforts to design and build robots to enter into competition at the annual FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics competition.

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in students through the fun of robotics. The goal is to engage students in order to develop problem solving, critical thinking, and innovative reasoning skills using custom-designed robots. This year, participating Rhode Island high school teams will compete for the chance to travel to the FIRST World Championship in Atlanta, Georgia. As a proud sponsor of the North Kingstown robotics team, OSHEAN is excited to support the students as they progress through the 2014 competition.

“What we’re witnessing at North Kingstown High School is the integration of technology into the curriculum in a way that helps students broaden their academic experience,” said David Marble, president and CEO of OSHEAN. “OSHEAN is proud to be a sponsor of the robotics team and looks forward to their success in the upcoming competition.”

The sponsorship aids the team as they prepare for the competition by helping to purchase parts and pay registration fees. As the competition has grown, so has the number of students involved with the school’s robotics program, which now includes a middle school club program in addition to the high school contingent. “The number has doubled,” said Powell. “My goal is for North Kingstown to be one of the top three teams in this year’s competition.”

The robotics competition is conducted in a tournament-style format, with multiple rounds to advance through before progressing to the statewide competition. Represented by students of each grade level and ability, the teams contribute both their energy and time in the designing and building of robots, spending an additional four to six hours per week in the robotics lab after classes and on weekends. As an OSHEAN member, North Kingstown High School understands that using technology is an ideal mechanism for learning how things work and identifying activities and subjects that interest students the most.

“This is a safe place to find out what you like before you go to college or decide to enroll in an engineering program,” said Powell. “At North Kingstown High School, we have so many opportunities for students to find their passion, from television production and theater to photography labs and robots. The robotics program gives the kids a taste of what it’s like to build a machine from the ground-up.”

New England Tech’s automotive campus in Warwick will serve as the central point of contact for all participating high schools as well as various after-school robotic teams. For more information, visit http://www.nefirst.org/portfolio/ride/.

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