On Monday, 21st Century Charter School @ Gary was paid a visit by Eddie Melton of NIPSCO and members of the Northwest Indiana Media.  The cause for celebration? NIPSCO’s presentation of a $1000 donation to the High School Robotics Club, “G.I. Frost Bots Team 4846”.


The activity of the Frost Bots team is centered on building a robot for participation in For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competitions.  FIRST is a nationwide program that provides high school students and their mentors to solve everyday problems.  

FIRST Robotics Competitions emphasize the importance of innovation, cooperation, and competition in events that feature a collaborative element.  Each year, Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST, announces the theme of the season’s events.  Teams are provided a kit of parts, and are given six weeks to design and build a robot before competitions begin.  There are multiple competitive events throughout the year.  In between each event, teams have the opportunity to tinker their robots to improve performance, so students have the chance to flex their engineering skills and learn throughout the process.

In past years, FIRST teams have been judged by their creations’ ability to throw and catch a Frisbee, or throw and catch a ball.  The 2015 season features Recycle Rush, which challenges teams to create robots that can lift and maneuver recycling bins.   At each event, robots compete against each other in teams of three to stack recycling bins and deposit pool noodles within the bins.  Around 3,000 teams are participating in FIRST Robotics Competitions, but the Frost Bots are the only existing team in Gary, IN.

The Frost Bots were founded as a participating FIRST team in 2013, when they were awarded the Rookie Inspirational Award at a Purdue Robotics Regional Conference.  This year’s team of 5 male and 6 female members is coached by Ms. Lindie Jackson, Robotics Facilitator at 21st Century.  Just a few weeks ago, the Frost Bots finished 25th out of 34 teams at the first state district competition.  After demonstrating their robot’s performance at Monday’s check presentation event, and tweaking the machine throughout the past week, the Frost Bots will participate in the First Robotics Competition District Meet at Purdue University in West Lafayette on Friday, March 20th and Saturday, March 21st.

On Monday, Eddie Melton congratulated the eleven members of the Frostbots on the success of their team, noting, “at NIPSCO, we are enthusiastic about supporting the development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills in young people.”   He then presented an oversize check for $1,000 to Ms. Jackson and the students, met by whoops and applause.  This donation will be used to purchase additional parts, and to enable the team to travel to future robotics competitions.  Thank you, NIPSCO, and best of luck to the Frost Bots in future competitions!

Read more about the Frost Bots here: