The University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension, part of the College of the Environment and Life Sciences, administers the 4-H program in Rhode Island. More than 1000 children participate in the URI 4-H program, an educational outreach program that combines hands on education and life skills in an after-school setting.
“Many people ask us, why robots?” said Kristina Horan, coordinator of 4-H programs at URI. “Our program is designed to allow youth to work on a variety of project areas: robotics, science, animals, nutrition, art, communications. 4-H offers hands-on learning activities for young people so they might become productive citizens. We strive to teach youth the life skills that they need to succeed.”
The robotics competition featured teams made up of high school students partnered with science and technology professionals. The Aquidneck Island team, which calls itself AIR Strike, includes 35 high school students from 12 schools across Rhode Island.
Teams were given six weeks to build a 5-foot tall, 150-pound robot to play a game in which three robots try to score as many small foam basketballs into their hoops as they can during a 2 minute and 15 second match. After nine qualification matches, the team lost to the second seeded team in the division finals.
“We’re very proud of the success of the AIR Strike team. They represented Rhode Island well, and we wish them good luck in future competitions,” said Horan.
Sponsors of the Aquidneck Island team were the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport, the National Defense Education Program, Raytheon, BAE Systems, KVH, and JC Penney.