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Zero Robotics – Launching Across Washington State and Into Space This Summer!

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under STEM

First Robatics participants get a chance to write code to run robots on the ISS. Image courtesy of MIT.

First Robotics participants get a chance to write code for robots on the International Space Station. Image courtesy of MIT.

School’s Out Washington is thrilled to be partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NASA, the Museum of Flight, and other partners as the Washington State coordinator of Zero Robotics!

Zero Robotics is a new kind of robotics competition for middle school students in ten states aimed at getting youth interested in STEM early – particularly groups not typically represented in STEM careers, such as girls, low-income youth, and youth of color.

Zero Robotics participants write code for three robots aboard the International Space Station – satellites! Rather than coding one satellite to do a single task, NASA is interested in what three satellites can do when they work together. The final competition is refereed live from the International Space Station by astronauts, and the winning code is then tested aboard the ISS. Each student also works on a Washington State code to be sent to and tested aboard the ISS.

By engaging in STEM activities in middle school, we hope to encourage students to continue their STEM interests in high school, college, and in their careers, eventually increasing the diversity of the field. In Washington State, 45,000 STEM jobs will go unfilled by 2017 due to a lack of qualified applicants – by giving Washington youth the ability to engage in exciting and fun STEM activities, we can work to create a future STEM workforce that is qualified, passionate, and diverse.

To learn more, visit zerorobotics.mit.edu.

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