Teams of students from 17 local high schools will put their robots to the test in the Qatar BOTBALL competition on Saturday, April 19 in Education City. The students have been busy designing, building and programming their Lego© Mindstorm robots for the past seven weeks in preparation for the competition that is hosted by Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. The teams will compete against each other on a playing field the size of a ping-pong table in a high energy, non-destructive tournament.Participating schools are: Al Eman Independent Secondary School for Girls, Al Jazeera Academy for Boys, Al Jazeera Academy for Girls, Al Maha English School for Girls, American School of Doha, Amna Bint Wahab Independent Secondary School for Girls, Doha College, Doha Independent Secondary School for Boys, Omar Bin Al- Khattab Scientific School, Qatar Academy, Qatar International School, Al-Resala Independent Secondary School for Girls, International School of Choueifat, Al-Wakra Independent Secondary School for Boys, Gulf English School, Al- Bayan Independent Secondary School for Girls and M.E.S. Indian School.“BOTBALL is a great activity for teenagers. They learn a lot about how to be technically creative, and they learn to use math, physics and programming in a useful way,” says Brett Browning, Ph.D., systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon. “Carnegie Mellon is so excited to see how much BOTBALL has grown in the region. It’s now spread across four countries and our goal is to take it to the entire Middle East.”BOTBALL is a U.S.-based organization that introduces robotics to high schools. Student teams are equipped with a Lego© Mindstorm robot, along with instruction on how to program it to move autonomously through a course. The programming sessions conclude with a challenge—student teams are pitted against one another to see whose robot completes the course. The winning team also must demonstrate the work they've done in order to program their robot.The top three teams from Qatar will go on to compete in the Regional BOTBALL Championship on May 24 at the Diplomatic Club in Doha. These teams will square off against the top two teams from the BOTBALL competitions in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.The winning team of the May 24 final will receive a trip to Norman, Oklahoma, USA to attend the 2008 Global Conference on Educational Robotics and meet middle school and high school students, educators, robotics enthusiasts, and professionals from across the world.Additionally, Al Jazeera Children’s Channel is airing a six-part documentary on BOTBALL. The dates and times will be announced on the day of the tournament.For more information on BOTBALL in Qatar, visit www.qatar.cmu.edu/BOTBALL .
About BOTBALLBOTBALL Robotics Program is a hands-on learning experience in robotics designed to engage young students in learning the practical applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The BOTBALL Program was developed in 1993 in the U.S. by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics (KIPR). The goal of the KISS Institute program is to get high school and middle school students interested and excited about the fields of science, information and engineering as they design, construct and program an autonomous robot. The BOTBALL program gives teenagers an activity where they learn from the program on the internet and develop engineering and programming skills through hands-on experience with robots. It also builds important community ties between schools, educators and local high technical organizations. For more information about BOTBALL, please visit: http://www.BOTBALL.org 
About Carnegie Mellon University in QatarCarnegie Mellon University in Qatar is the first international branch campus operated by Carnegie Mellon University, a private American research university that's regularly ranked among the best in the world. Carnegie Mellon offers its highly regarded undergraduate programs in Business Administration, Computer Science and Information Systems to students in the Gulf Region. Carnegie Mellon plans to open a new facility on the Education City campus in late 2008. More information can be found at www.qatar.cmu.edu .
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