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March 4, 2003


Aurora Central High School's “MegaBites” hope to chew up the competition at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition in March.

The Aurora Central team spent six weeks piecing together nuts, bolts, wiring, and wheels to make the district's first robot. Teachers, a parent and mentors from Raytheon Company helped design and construct the robot. Robbie, the name of the MegaBite's robot, is a platform with an A-frame set on four wheels. Its electrical wiring layout won praise from other teams at a practice competition.

“This project has allowed students to learn more about science and technology by working with adults as peers, in an informal setting,” said teacher Gayle Bintner

The FIRST robotics competition provides high school students the opportunity to work with professional engineers to design, build, test and operate robots. Corporate and community sponsors support the student teams.

“I would have loved to have done something like this in high school,” said Marcus Landry, a field engineer for Raytheon. “This experience will open many doors for these kids. They're learning how to work as a team, how to make deadlines and how to learn from their mistakes.”

Dean Kamen, inventor of the insulin pump and the Ibot wheel chair, founded the FIRST competition. Kamen holds more then 150 U.S. and foreign patents. He developed the nationwide competition as a way to boost student's interest in science and technology.

Aurora Central student Steve Carroll, Jr., hopes to become an electrical engineer. “I don't think a lot of high school kids realize that given the right tools and mentors, you can do something like this,” he said. “Who wouldn't want to build a robot?”

Raytheon Company donated $5,000 to the team, in addition to providing volunteer mentors from the company. Ed Bozarth Chevrolet sponsored the team with $4,000. Super K-Mart at East Colfax Avenue and Chambers Road donated a $50 gift card.

NASA, Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace, Hewlett Packard, HIS and the University of Denver donated to the Colorado FIRST organization, which then distributed money to the school teams.

The MegaBites will compete against 17 other teams from March 25 through March 27 at the Ritchie Center on the University of Denver campus.

Communication Services

Georgia Durán, Director
303-344-8060, ext. 28015
FAX: 303-326-1939
e-mail: georgiad@admin.aps.k12.co.us

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