RT MediaMogul - шаблон joomla Авто
MAAM preparing for annual robotics Lego competition PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 17 March 2018 09:00


• Leader & Times

Next Saturday, the Mid-American Air Museum is welcoming back students from many schools in the region to compete in this year’s First Lego League (FLL) robotics tournament.

MAAM Director Scott Metelko said 34 teams are coming to Liberal to compete in the tournament.

“There’s the younger kids,” he said. “They’ll compete in the morning, and then, we have the big tournament set up in the afternoon.”

Metelko said 34 teams will mean around 300 kids will be coming to town, and many of those young people will be joined by their families.

“It’s a one-day event where we can bring a couple hundred families into town to visit, to eat here and buy gas,” he said. “Some of them will stay in hotels because they come from pretty far away.”

The furthest team, Metelko said, will come from Enid, Okla., about three or four hours from Liberal.

“All the states around us, except I don’t think there’s a team from New Mexico this year,” he said. “They’ve had them in the past. It’s a full-day tournament.”

Saturday morning will bring competitions for older FLL participants as well as junior competitors.

“Those are done about noon, and in the afternoon, that’s when we have the tournament set up,” Metelko said. “We have the bleachers out there. They’ll compete out there.”

Metelko added about 75 volunteers will be on hand to help with the day’s events.

“We’ve got judges,” he said. “We’ve got referees. We have people that are helping people find food or power or whatever their needs are here in the museum. We’ve got people running back and forth bringing scores to judges. It’s quite a production.”

Metelko said MAAM has people working on the FLL tournament year round.

“They were working on it when I got here back in August,” he said. “They put everything together. They go out and get the sponsorship. They put all the graphics and all of the brochures and things like that together.”

Having all of the schools, teams and families in Liberal for the day means a lot for the local economy as well, Metelko added.

“They just do such a good job, and for us as a museum and for Liberal in general, having an event that will bring a couple hundred families into town is really nice,” he said.

Robotics have increased in popularity as the years go by, and Metelko explained why young people remain interested.

“Watching the kids, they’re so engaged with it,” he said. “It’s hands on, but it’s also very cerebral. They have their robot, which they’ve designed, and there’s a course it’s gotta run. They put that thing down there, and they tell it to go ahead and do what they’ve programmed it to do. All of a sudden, they find out that didn’t work. They’ve gotta figure out why it doesn’t work and then reprogram to find a way around that. They send it off again and do the same thing. There’s a lot of feedback for them as kids. They try something. It works, or they try something, it doesn’t work. They can change how they tried it. They can go again. They can redesign their robot if they want to. They can do all kinds of things, and they’re working in teams.”

Metelko, too, said robotics is likewise very engaging for the students doing it.

“It’s computers,” he said. “It’s science. There’s a lot of math. They know what the diameter of their wheels are. They know how far the robot will travel when it travels two and a half rotations. They get a lot of science, technology, engineering, mathematics interaction with it.”

While MAAM’s robotics tournament already draws quite the radius of towns, Metelko said that range will be expanded even more in the near future.

“We’re sort of a regional point,” he said. “They expanded that all the way to Nebraska. Next year, we’ll have most of Western Kansas in our area. That’s what we’re really here for is to bring people in and give them a place to play and to educate their kids and to have a day with their family. An event like this is just really perfect for us.”




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

For more, contact us.


Get the Daily Leader delivered to your home for $101.45 per year in Liberal, or $140 outside Liberal. Call 620-626-0840 for a subscription today. You can receive the print edition or an electronic edition! To subscribe today, email circulation@hpleader.com.

RocketTheme Joomla Templates