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Source: 4-H Today

Every year, 400 of the best youth teams in robotics come together to compete in a weekend filled with robotics sporting events for the FIRSTŪ Championships. The competition brings together talented teams from around the world to compete for the national championship title. This year's competition welcomed 17+ 4-H robotics teams, with two of these 4-H teams taking home top honors.

Organized and hosted by For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRSTŪ), the competition engages competitors in the application of science and technology through games and sports. This year, teams were introduced to Ariel Assist. The game consisted of two alliances (three teams each), using three robots, to work to score balls into goals during two and a half minute matches.

This is the fifth year that National 4-H Council has partnered with FIRSTŪ Robotics, and since the beginning, we have always had a reason to celebrate 4-H teams in the championship.

"Since our first year 69 teams have advanced to the championship competition with the support of our dedicated volunteers, coaches, and mentors, and our sponsors Lockheed Martin and JCPenney," said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council.

We have even more to celebrate as two 4-H teams placed first and second in the FIRSTŪ Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship. 4-H Techno Clovers (Team 4240) of Accident, Maryland, received the title of FTC World Champions as a part of the Winning Alliance, which also included two teams from Florida and Oregon. Green Machine Team (Team 4318) of Ellicott City, Maryland, took home second place as a part of the Finalist Alliance, which also included two teams from Ohio and Montana. The teams, both of University of Maryland Extension 4-H, worked their way to the top with their respective alliances to bring home the gold and silver in the category.

It is important to note that as custom in FIRSTŪ competitions, individual teams work together as alliances to secure a spot in the next round of challenges. This method encourages teamwork among competing groups, while still providing a healthy dose of competitive interactions. Because of this, there is never one winner, allowing multiple teams to experience a victory in their categories.

4-H continues to grow scientists and engineers, and these successes are testament to the powerful STEM learning and Robotics curriculum provided by 4-H.

"Research has shown that 4-H'ers are two times more likely to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs," says Sirangelo. "These talented youth who participate in the 4-H Robotics program deserve to be commended for their hard work, creativity and dedication to STEM."

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