Southern Maine Gearbots will display LEGO® robots for the public at first-ever district competition at Saint Joseph’s College

Southern Maine Gearbots will hold its 1st Annual District Meet featuring robotic creations built using LEGO® construction sets controlled with computer software on Saturday, April 7, at Saint Joseph’s College, from 9 a.m. to Noon. The event will showcase mechanical creations from 19 teams of K-8 graders, a robotics pavilion that includes high school robotics demonstrations and an interactive scale model of the final NASA space shuttle signed by the astronauts. Admission is free (suggested donations only) and open to the public.

“The creativity and problem-solving abilities that even our primary school children have been able to demonstrate are truly amazing,” said Todd Mead of Windham, president and founder of Southern Maine Gearbots. “It’s very important to us that our students be able to demonstrate the models and machines they’ve worked so hard on over the past months,” he added.

Southern Maine Gearbots is a newly formed nonprofit to introduce K-8 students to science, math, engineering and technology concepts through the use of robotics programs. It is modeled on the First Lego League program, a nationally recognized program to inspire students age 6 through 14 to follow science and engineering career paths. Groups of six students work collaboratively to define, design, and resolve challenges through research and implementation of science and engineering topics using Lego building systems and Mindstorm robotics.

“Our organization was formed to support students by providing the structure, equipment and opportunities our local school systems are not able to provide.  In just four months we have created a program that has engaged more than 115 area students with hands-on learning experiences aimed at addressing real-life engineering problems in a fun, interactive way."

The district meet features a special 1:50 scale robotic space shuttle. The large, interactive “Enterprise” model built with LEGO® NXT controllers was signed by astronauts to commemorate the final NASA shuttle launch in 2011. Special guest and robotic shuttle creator Andrew Milluzzi of Ohio will answer questions and demonstrate the controls of his shuttle. For more information about the event, contact mjordan@smgearbots.org or 892-2986.

March 20, 2012
Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail cdaniels@sjcme.edu