FIRST® Tech Challenge calls for final entries from high school students

FIRST® Tech Challenge calls for final entries from high school students

High school students between the ages of 12 and 18 years are being invited to participate in the UAE’s inaugural FIRST® Tech Challenge, a competition where teams design and create a robot, and then enter the robot into challenges with other teams.

The theme of the 2019 Challenge is “space.” Participants will be tasked with creating planet-exploring robots which will compete in a game called ROVER RUCKUS SM, played on a 12’ by 12’ field. The robots will be built from a reusable platform, powered by Android technology, using Java or Blocky.

American University of Sharjah (AUS) is hosting the two-day event, with ATLAB and the UAE Ministry of Education, the event’s two major partners, and Lockheed Martin the event’s major sponsor. ATLAB, the technology-based learning solutions company, is a division of Centena Group. The event is scheduled for March 15–16, with applications soon to close. Those who are interested are therefore encouraged to get their applications in as soon as possible.

The emphasis of the competition is not on winning but on generating team skills, respecting new ideas, making new friends and having fun. All teams are guided by adult coaches and mentors, and are encouraged to be innovative, work hard and foster STEM skills. Such goals are particularly pertinent for the UAE, as the country continues its efforts to become one of the world’s most innovative nations and build a knowledge-based economy driven by STEM expertise. Holding the competition in the UAE will give young people the opportunity to test out their STEM skills and explore the possibility of a STEM-based career.

Dean of the College of Engineering at AUS, Dr. Richard Schoephoerster, says:

“There are many exciting career opportunities open to those who undertake a STEM-based degree and this competition allows high school students to see first-hand how rewarding STEM-based learning can be. With the UAE’s Space Program continually on the look-out for high-quality STEM graduates, along with many other innovative and emerging industries in the UAE, there is no shortage of career options available to those who choose a STEM path. The challenge will help to motivate talented high school students to explore a STEM career and give them the confidence they need to take the next step towards a STEM degree.”

Sanjay Raghunath, Chairman and Managing Director of Centena Group, says the FIRST® Tech Challenge is a mentor-based program aimed at building science engineering and technology skills in students.

“FIRST® Tech Challenge is all about innovation and learning life skills. It is not just about student participation but a collaborative effort involving mentors, adult volunteers along with participating team members. It is extremely important for educational institutions to take a lead in encouraging students to participate in such competitions, which will help them be better prepared to meet the career goals in the coming years.”

ATLAB has partnered with LEGO Education, PITSCO Education, PASCO Scientific, SAM Labs, XYZ Printing, to bring its STEM and STEAM education solutions to all major schools in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC, along with training units for educators.

Registrations are now open. To find out more about the FIRST® Tech Challenge, or register, please visit:

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