The Oswego 2338 Gear It Forward robotics team hosted an open house with six teams in attendance Saturday, February 15.
The event was sponsored by Caterpillar and attended by U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-11th District). There were six teams and between 120 and 140 students competing.
There were also several students from the Junior First Lego League and First Lego League who participated from Churchill, Long Beach, Prairie Point and Southbury Elementary Schools, and Bednarcik, Murphy, and Plank Junior High Schools.
The open house included scrimmages among the six teams in the commons area at Oswego East High School. The scrimmages gave the students an opportunity to use a team approach to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines.
Oswego East Principal Louis Lee stressed the importance of STEM-related learning. By 2018, Lee noted that an estimated 1.2 million STEM-related jobs will remain unfilled in the United States.
“The students who leave our high school need to be able to compete,” he said. Job numbers in STEM fields are expected to grow by 17 to 18 percent by 2018, which is nearly twice as much growth as in other fields. “We need to make sure that we have enough qualified workers to fill those jobs,” Lee said.
Rep. Foster, who is a physicist, also created a STEM initiative within the 11th District.
The Oswego 2338 Gear It Forward robotics team will have more competitions in coming weeks. The first competition will be at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana on March 6-8. The second competition will be at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago on April 3-5. If they win one of those two competitions, they’ll be eligible to compete in the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri on April 23-26.
Some of the team’s recent accomplishments include the 2013 winter of the Wisconsin Regional competition, 2013 winner of the Midwest Regional Gracious Professionalism award, 2013 World Championship Alliance Captain, Galileo Division, and a division quarterfinalist out of 100 teams. The team was also invited to participate in the elite Indiana Robotics Invitational based on its performance in the 2013 season.
“It’s a fun way to learn about STEM,” Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Judith Minor said. “They really did a neat job.”