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Students Power Up Robots for Competition


Wood Middle School teacher and Alameda Robotics Center instructor Nga Nguyen coaches students from Wood and Lum Elementary School as they prepare for the inaugural Alameda Robotics competition to be held on Saturday, May 7th.

The Alameda Robotics Center is holding its inaugural Alameda Robotics Center tournament on Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM in the Wood Middle School Makerspace, located at 420 Grand St.

About 50 students from Wood Middle, Lum Elementary, Ruby Bridges Elementary, Nea, and Encinal Jr. High School will be participating in the competition in which teams compete to see whose robots can complete a series of tasks for the most points.  The day will also showcase a “Coopertition” feature where students from the different Alameda schools will work together to tackle specific tournament challenges.  According to Alameda Robotics teacher and coach Nga Nguyen, successful teams at the competition will use collaboration and teamwork, identify relevant sources of information from a range of resources, practice effective communication skills and understand the scientific method of formulation and testing hypotheses.  “Plus, it’s fun,” added Nguyen.

The Alameda Robotics Program is based out of the Makerspace at Wood Middle School.  It is coached by Nguyen and Mercedes Thorne, who participated on the high school robotics team when it was housed at ASTI (Alameda Science and Technology Institute, an AUSD high school whose campus is on the College of Alameda). The goal of the Robotics Program is to provide opportunities for Alameda public school students from kindergarten through 8th grade to learn about and get engaged in everything building a robot has to offer:  teamwork, engagement, differentiation, self-directed learning, hands-on learning and real life connections.  Teams are school based but practice in the Makerspace before competitions.  Associated with the Alameda Robotics Center is the Island City Robotics program in which high school students participate in regional competitions.

Saturday’s competition begins at 10:00 am, with the second round at 11:00 AM, the third at noon and the award ceremony at 1:00 pm.  The competition is free to the public.

The Alameda Robotics Program and teams are partially sponsored by funds from “Power Up For Learning,” a joint program of the Alameda Education Foundation and Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) where AMP customers support technology education through donations added onto their power bill.  To sign up for Power Up For Learning, please visit the AEF website

In conjunction with the Alameda and Island City Robotics programs, AEF is running summer robotics and maker camps for students in grades 6th – 8th at Wood Middle School.  For younger students, AEF is offering kinderbots, marinebots and gamebots out of Haight Elementary School.  Full summer camp information may be here


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