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Watch out FIRST LEGO League - USC Robotics is Gearing Up!

Students had been waiting for the start of USC Robotics since the end of the 2021/2022 school year! As soon as the new school year begun, Mr. Jason O'Roark, Fort Couch Middle School's Robotics Sponsor, was ready to get started.

Due to overwhelming interest in joining USC Robotics, Mr. O'Roark developed a Tuesday and Thursday after school cohort of students for the 1st semester and another Tuesday and Thursday after school cohort of students for the 2nd semester. Each cohort supports eighteen students, giving a total of 72 students at Fort Couch Middle School a chance to participate in the USC Robotics Club during the 2022/2023 school year.

The 1st semester cohorts are participating in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge. Fort Couch Middle School has created six teams, of six students each, to compete this year: AC/DC, Gatorade Girls, Rust in Peace, Scrap Metal, Solar 6, and Volt-swaggin.

Students jumped into action with their first meeting after school on August 30th and were quickly spending weekend time to start creating their base robot for the SUPERPOWERED game. The FLL season is short, ending December 9th. Students spend a significant amount of time working through the engineering design cycle over approximately a three month period to prepare for the Grand Championship held at Sewickley Academy in Pittsburgh, PA.

In order to prepare for the Grand Championship, USC Robotics FLL teams will participate in an educational scrimmage on October 15th at the BrainSTEM Barn in Baden, PA and a competitive scrimmage on November 12th at Upper St Clair High School in Pittsburgh, PA.

Besides designing, building, and programming a robot to compete in the SUPERPOWERED game, each team also creates an Innovation Project. This year's Innovation Project prompt is:

"From the machines that move us to the electronics that connect us to the ways we power our cities and towns, energy is essential in our lives. Have you thought about where energy comes from? How it’s generated? How it gets to you? How much you’re using? Can you improve one step to be more efficient, reliable, affordable, accessible, or sustainable? What solutions already exist? Use your research and explorations to either improve an existing solution used in your energy journey or design a new innovative solution."

FIRST is More Than Robots. Students involved in FLL strive to demonstrate core values of discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork, and fun and promote gracious professionalism.

Look for more updates on how the USC Robotics FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams are doing as the season progresses!

USC Robotics is a district-wide initiative in the Upper St Clair School District in Pittsburgh, PA. As of now, there are regular after school extracurricular opportunities related to USC Robotics at Boyce Middle School, Fort Couch Middle School, and Upper St. Clair High School. Outreach initiatives developed within USC Robotics look to touch an even larger footprint within our community. If you are interested in supporting our current and future initiatives, please visit our website or email us at

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