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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Robot-building sports on a roll

By Heron Marquez Estrada





JewishWorldReview.com |

M INNEAPOLIS— (MCT) An explosion in the popularity of high school robotics teams has suddenly made it chic to be geek.

Robotics team members are getting varsity letters and patches, being paraded before school assemblies like other sports stars, and seeing trophies in the same lobby display cases as their football, basketball or baseball counterparts.

"It's the new kid on the block," said Dawn Nichols, head of school at Convent of the Visitation Catholic School in Mendota Heights, which has the only all-girls robotics team in Minnesota.

A telling statistic: For the first time ever, there are more varsity robotics teams than there are boys' varsity hockey teams in the state. There are 156 high school boys' hockey teams and 180 robotics teams, up from 153 last year, according to the Minnesota State High School League.

While boys' and girls' high school basketball teams remain the most common with more than 400 teams each, no other sport or activity has grown as quickly as robotics, which began with just two teams in 2006 and will likely surpass 200 soon.



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"Minnesota is becoming a mecca for robotics," said Joe Passofaro, one of the mentors/coaches for the Prior Lake High School robotics team, which won the state championship last year. "We're getting a group here that is coming onto the world scene."

Minnesota last year became the first state in the country to sanction a state tournament and championship for robotics teams. Teams compete by building robots to perform specific tasks — shooting basketballs last year, throwing Frisbees this year — and then seeing whose works the best.

"Robotics is really a different way for kids getting into sports," said Lauren Woolwine, 17, a member of the Edina High School robotics team, the Green Machine. "Now that we have a state tournament it's easier to relate to people. People really relate to state tournaments and championships."

The High School League said changing perceptions were part of the reason its board decided to elevate robotics to the varsity level, complete with a state tournament in May and team championship trophies.

"You go into a robotics competition and it just draws you in," Nichols said. "The feeling is as palpable as any other sports competition."

Mark Lawrence, who helped start the Edina team in 2006, said varsity recognition is only going to help robotics grow, while also helping to change how the participants are perceived.

"You walk into the lobby cases and there are the trophies," Lawrence said. "It shows that we are part of the school fabric."

Lawrence, Passofaro and others point out that there are also hundreds of non-varsity robotics teams in middle and elementary schools, bringing the total number of kids participating on robotics teams to more than 4,600.

"The growth is terribly impressive, especially compared to other activities that have been around for years and have worldwide followings," said Amy Doherty, who is with the high school league. "It seems like (robotics) is something that every school would want to be involved in."

The University of Minnesota is already starting to see ripple effects. In 2008, two years after the first robotics teams appeared, 12 students with robotics team experience enrolled at the university's College of Science and Engineering. Last year that number had grown to 76.

Also, the first state robotics tournament was held on the university campus at Williams Arena, allowing hundreds of potential new students and their parents to experience the Twin Cities campus, said Steve Crouch, dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

Four weeks ago, the season kicked off when the robot kits were delivered to the teams. Since then, teams, which can be as small as two people and as large as 50 or more, have been working feverishly to develop the best mechanisms to meet this year's challenge: having the robot toss Frisbees through openings.

The kits cost $5,000 apiece, which is the biggest obstacle to the growth of robotics. Starting a team and keeping it going costs about $10,000 a year, including the kit and additional parts to improve it. Although robotics is now a varsity sport, it is still treated financially as an activity and not budgeted for by districts.

Belle Plaine, for example, started a robotics team this year but is relying on donations to come up with the kit price and related expenses.

Also, robotics teams are so relatively new that most schools don't have places for the teams to practice, work, design or test their creations.

"We built our first robot in a barn," Passofaro recalled, noting that most varsity teams have fields, diamonds or courts at their schools.

That too appears to be slowly changing. On Jan. 24, Convent of the Visitation opened a new 4,000-square-foot building dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math. The building, complete with a fully stocked workshop, also will be used to house the Robettes, the robotics team.

"It was absolutely intentional," said Nichols, who until now has been renting space in downtown St. Paul for the robotics team. "We wanted to bring them back to campus, to have the team feel and be more part of the school."


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