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Four Hundred Students in FIRST Robot Competitions at Clarkson University

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See live coverage of the tournaments at

Four hundred high-school & grade-school students in will compete in robot competitions Friday & Saturday, December 5 and 6, at Clarkson University. ftc2007

On Friday, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization dedicated to inspiring young people's interest and participation in science and technology, brings its FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) to Clarkson University's Walker Center with the 2008 "Face Off" Challenge, as 200 high-school students on 22 teams compete in an event sponsored by the Northern New York Robotics Institute.

This year's "Face-Off" Challenge calls for teams of high school students to design, build and program robots to navigate a variety of surfaces, place hockey pucks in a center scoring area, knock pucks off racks and get off the playing surface at the end of the match.

Friday's tournament begins with robot inspections and open practice at 1 p.m., an opening ceremony at 1:45 p.m., qualifying rounds starting at 2:15 p.m. and elimination rounds at 6:30 p.m. Awards will be presented at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, FIRST brings its biggest-ever annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) "Climate Connections" Challenge to Walker Center, as 200 elementary- and middle-school students compete.

This year's Challenge called for teams of 9- to 14-year-old children to research and present their own creative solutions to one of today's most critical environmental issues: climate, culminating in Saturday's Northern New York Robotics Institute's tournament . With missions including exploring greenhouse gases, wildlife, and preparations for climate conditions, teams will have programmed their robots to explore the growing questions around climate.

Saturday's tournament begins with an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m., judging and presentations at 10 a.m., challenge rounds at 1 p.m., and awards at 4 p.m.

On Friday, teams will be coming from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and western New York and from the following local school districts: Brasher Falls, Canton, Colton-Pierrepont, Edwards-Knox, Gouverneur, Harrisville, Herman DeKalb, Madrid-Waddington, Massena, Norwood-Norfolk, Ogdensburg, Parishville-Hopkinton, and Potsdam and Seaway Technical Center.

On Saturday, the following school districts will be participating: Brasher Falls, Canton, Colton-Pierrepont, Edwards-Knox, Gouverneur, Herman DeKalb, Little River Community School, Madrid-Waddington, Massena, Norwood-Norfolk, Ogdensburg, Parishville-Hopkinton, and Potsdam as well as Little River Community School and Trinity Catholic School.

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With the support of many of the world's most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, FIRST LEGO League for children 9-14 years old, and Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to To learn more about the "Climate Connections" Challenge, go to For more information about LEGO, visit

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: High-school students compete in last year's FIRST Tech Challenge.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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