South Jersey Students Face Off in Robotics Competition at Lockheed Martin

CHERRY HILL, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- Nov 09, 2009 -- Thirty-four area middle school students matched wits during the final competition of the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) Robotics Workshop. The interactive workshops are led by Lockheed Martin engineers, and are designed to spark student interest in science and engineering.

Throughout the five-week program, engineers tutor Camden County students from Carusi, Cherry Hill, Lawnside, Veterans Memorial, Camden, and Howard Phifer Middle Schools. Split into random teams of four and given rotating responsibilities, the students learn basic engineering and computer programming while acting as program manager, lead programmer, lead tester or lead software developer for their team. The structure is designed to mimic the real-life job of an engineer.

"We know these students are motivated. They've been getting up early for the past five Saturdays to learn about engineering and robotics," said James Marsh, ATL director. "We hope we've help these driven students understand that a career in engineering can be fun and rewarding."

The final competition will require students to combine programming lessons and teamwork to program a helper robot to clean a dirty kitchen without knocking over other objects. ATL engineers adapted this scenario from lesson plans developed at Carnegie Mellon University.

During the first session in October, students used computing programs already built into their robots or written by ATL engineers. Now these students are writing their own software code to make their robots accomplish a particular task, like using sonar to avoid objects, using light to follow a line, or using software to navigate a maze.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

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