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Weekend Media Advisory: 47 Baltimore City School Teams to Compete Saturday in Robotics Contest at Johns Hopkins

February 12, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Phil Sneiderman
Office: 443-997-9907
Cell: 410-299-7462
prs@jhu.edu / On Twitter: @filroy

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14. NOTE: Best times to view the robots in action are between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. or between 2 and 4 p.m. Awards will be given out between 4 and 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: In the Newton White Athletic Center, on The Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Md. The athletic center is Building 53 on this campus map: http://bit.ly/KEjya8

WHAT: More than 150 middle and high school students from Baltimore City Public Schools will compete in the Textron Systems Hopkins Robotics Cup, an event that yields the winners of the Baltimore City Mentor League VEX Robotics Championship. A new engineering challenge is presented annually at the contest in the form of a game. Participating students, with guidance from teachers and mentors, use the VEX Robotics Design System to build innovative robots designed to score the most points possible in qualification matches, elimination matches and skills challenges. The robotics game for the 2014-15 season is called VEX Skyrise. It is played on a 12-foot square field on which two alliances, composed of two teams each, compete in driver-controlled matches.

Student teams generally are made up of two to four young people. (A complete list of participating Baltimore schools is posted below.) Volunteers—including Johns Hopkins staff, faculty and students; Textron Systems and City Schools employees; and community members—will assist as in roles such as referee, judge and scorekeeper.

The presenting sponsor for this event is Hunt Valley, Md.-based Textron Systems, a leading global provider of unmanned systems, command-and-control technologies, and comprehensive unmanned systems services. The Abell Foundation provided additional support.

BACKGROUND: Students from 30 Baltimore City middle and high schools have been building robots using VEX Robotics educational products. Each robot must measure no larger than 18 inches by 18 inches by 18 inches. During Saturday’s competition, the 47 teams from City Schools will compete for the league championship title. To determine winners, each robot will participate in qualification and then elimination matches staged within the two competition fields set up within the Goldfarb Gym.

WHY: The event is being hosted by the Center for Educational Outreach at Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering, in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools. The center’s mission is to increase the number of youth who pursue science, technology engineering and math (STEM) education and careers, particularly women and underrepresented minorities.

SUPERVISOR FOR THE EVENT: The tournament director is Margaret Hart. Her weekday office phone is (410) 516-4180. To reach her on the day of the event, her cell phone number is (617) 642-0023.

Competition rules can be viewed here: http://www.vexrobotics.com/wiki/index.php/Skyrise

Participating Baltimore City Schools (Some schools will send more than one team.):

29th Street Community Center
Achievement Academy at Harbor City High School
Baltimore International High School
Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women
Beechfield Elementary/Middle School
Benjamin Franklin High School
Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy West
Calverton Elementary/Middle School
Carver Vocational-Technical High School
Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School
Coppin Academy High School
Cross Country Elementary/Middle School
The Crossroads School
Digital Harbor High School
Forest Park High School
Friendship Academy of Engineering and Technology
Glenmount Elementary/Middle School
Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School
Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School
James McHenry Elementary/Middle School VIP Afterschool Program
Lakeland Elementary/Middle School
Maree G. Farring Elementary/Middle School
Maryland Academy of Technology and Health Science
Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School
New Song Academy
Patterson High School
Patterson Park Public Charter School
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
REACH! Partnership School #341
Vanguard Collegiate Middle School

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