Operating since 2014, Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region’s Robotics Program was designed to provide an opportunity for at-risk middle and high school students to be exposed to education and career opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields while building self-confidence, knowledge, and 21st century work-life skills in both after-school and summer programs as they build and program a robot for the highlight of their year—the FIRST Robotics Competition.
FIRST Robotics Competition
Dubbed a “varsity sport for the mind,” FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual international high school competition that combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get.
Each spring Living Classrooms enters our Robotics students into this worldwide competition as team Fresh T.E.C.H. (Technology, Engineering, Carpentry, and Higher Learning) or Team 4242. Led by Department of Transportation mentors, students study intensely on robot design & theories of function. They work together to apply scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge to create a robot that can navigate real-world simulations. Program components include designing and building structures, functional machines, and control devices, while also developing an understanding of materials and the engineering process. Students learn leadership, professionalism, and communication skills, and start to truly understand the importance of teamwork.
Commonly one of the smallest and most inexperienced teams, Fresh T.E.C.H. has consistently beaten the odds and advanced through the competition. In 2017, they beat 40 local teams to win the FIRST Robotics Chesapeake Greater DC District Competition and secured a position in the World Championships for the second consecutive year where they competed alongside 3,336 teams from 25 countries, and while they did not win an award at the World level, the experience was priceless for the team.
Contact: Dominique Skinner
Percentage of participating students in 2017 have expressed an interest in pursuing a career in STEM fields
The number of high schools Team 4242 beat out to win first place in the FIRST Chesapeake Greater DC District Competition
Number of consecutive years our team has qualified for the FIRST Robotics World Championship