KCC forms Bruin-Bots, a robotics competition team for youth

Kellogg Community College invites sixth- through ninth-graders from across the area to join the Bruin-Bots, a team that will build and program a competition robot as part of KCC’s Lifelong Learning Program.

The team, which begins practicing Oct. 23, will be affiliated with FIRST, a national nonprofit that encourages young people to explore science and technology.

“FIRST has been around for over 20 years, but more recently we have started to see their programming really grow,” said Robb Cohoon, an adjunct instructor at KCC and coach of the Bruin-Bots. “With the increased emphasis on STEM education in schools, the FIRST family of robotics competitions is a great vehicle to show youth that the sciences really are fun and exciting.”

Specifically, the FIRST Tech Challenge, in which the Bruin-Bots will participate, is a mid-level robotics competition that allows young people to design, build and program robots; apply real-world math and science concepts; develop strategic problem-solving, organizational and team-building skills; compete and cooperate at tournaments; earn a place in the world championship; qualify for college scholarships.

The creation of the Bruin-Bots is an expansion of programming for young students at KCC, which last year included a popular LEGO robotics summer camp.

“We know that by offering opportunities like this for all youth, we can start engaging them in STEM education at a very early age,” said Kimberlee Andrews-Bingham, the team’s administrator and the Lifelong Learning Program Coordinator. “We want to be a part of building tomorrow’s confident and prepared workforce in Calhoun County.”

The Bruin-Bots is free to join and requires no special skills or knowledge. The first practice, which will include an opportunity for parents to sign release forms and meet the instructor, is 3:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center, 405 Hill Brady Road, Battle Creek.

The team will practice 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from Oct. 23 through Dec. 13.

For more information, contact KCC Lifelong Learning at 269-965-4134.

Pictured above is a FIRST Tech Team in a courtesy photo from FIRST.