GEAR provides an exciting hands-on LEGO robotics challenge to elementary and middle school students at no participation fee, with the goal of increasing interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines while offering mentoring opportunities to engineering undergraduate students at Texas Tech University in an effort to improve their education and increase retention rates.
GEAR itself (found at www.gearrobotics.org) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization that was created to foster interest among today's youth in engineering, science, and technology. It provides the game rules for the annual competition with instructions on how to build game tables and where to purchase game elements. GEAR also maintains a Question and Answer section on its website. GEAR tournaments are held at various locations listed on the GEAR website.
During the 6 - 8 week long GEAR challenge elementary and middle student teams design,
construct, and program robots using the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kits or the older LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT kits, which contain structural elements, wheels,
axles, gears, motors, sensors, and a simple microprocessor with rechargeable battery.
Programming of the robot is accomplished through an intuitive graphical user interface,
the EV3 Software, patterned after the widely-used LabVIEW laboratory instrumentation package from
National Instruments. Communication between the robot's microprocessor and the computer
is done through Bluetooth or a computer's USB port.
The annually changing challenge is designed around a fictive story that motivates the need for autonomous robots (i.e. a robot operating in Antarctica, constructing a moon post, or performing surgery). To solve the challenge, students learn engineering skills through a teaming exercise in designing, building, programming, testing, and troubleshooting their wheeled LEGO robots. These robots then compete autonomously in two minute matches on a 4-by-8-foot game field.
Click on the following links to find out more about:
• Photos and Videos from TTU GEAR Tournaments
• Teacher resources (including how to start a LEGO robotics club)
• Mindstorms Training for New Coaches
• LEGO MINDSTORMS Curriculum (WILL COME)
• TTU LEGO Robotics field trips
|Dr. Tanja Karp
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX 79409-3102
Phone: 806.742.3533 ext. 251
Whitacre College of Engineering STEM
Texas Tech University
Office of the Dean of Engineering
Lubbock, TX 79409−3103