About Us

What is the Newton Robotics Team?

We are the award-winning robotics division of Newton Public Schools in Newton, NJ. A part of FIRST Robotics, we have proudly served and contributed to expanding STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) to the community and students since our establishment in 2009.

Coached by James Hofmann of Halsted Middle School with the assistance of Darleen Nelson, our program ensures that students from grades five through twelve are provided with an exploration to 21st Century Life and Careers with more hands-on opportunities in Engineering, Science, Business, Public Relations, Marketing, Industrial Safety, and more.

Our middle school team (students in grades 5-8) participates in the FIRST Lego League competition, where students program a robot to complete different missions on custom game boards using legos and LEGO® MINDSTORMS, LEGO® NXT, and LEGO® EV3 technology, as well as to conceptualize a solution to a real-world problem.

Students in grades 9-12 participate in our FIRST Robotics Competition team, “Aperture.” Aperture’s students are given six-weeks to construct a robot out of industrial materials to complete a sport-like challenge. Students are also given the chance to present other skills that are useful in real-world working fields including, but not limited to, business, marketing, art, and public speaking skills.

About Team 3142 Aperture            2018 Calendar

             2019 Calendar

            2022 Calendar

Many people have seen our team name and understood its reference to the popular Portal video gaming series and its fictional location in the “Aperture Science Laboratories.” The name “Aperture” also references to a camera’s aperture, an opening which allows light in, making an impression on the film, and creating a beautiful, multi-faceted image where there once was none.

Our high school team “opens” new and unique possibilities to students. Our robotics team provides students an exploration of twenty-first century careers and workforce, impressing upon them the importance of STEM, gracious professionalism, and service to the community.

Our team members collaborate and conceptualize with engineers and mentors, who are employed in various companies, as well as members of our community that possess an expertise encompassing a multitude of disciplines. Upon the completion of the challenge allocated for the season, a dynamic and creative partnership is maintained well beyond the build season. We are now approaching our 10th anniversary and season.

Our Mission

The mission of the Newton Robotics Team is to pave the way for its members to become leaders in science and technology, working cooperatively with one another, fellow teams, and technology professionals to promote STEM, provide education and opportunities for our community’s youth, and carry out the mission of FIRST.

What is FIRST Robotics?

FIRST, the acronym for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is an organization founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen that inspires children and teens to become involved in science and technology.

FIRST is a passionate form of robotics available to students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. There are many opportunities provided by the organization for students who wish to succeed in pursuing a career in the science and technology field.

There are four levels of FIRST robotics: FLL Jr., FLL, FTC, and FRC. Each level provides a real life engineering challenge every year.

The teams’ challenge is to figure out a solution to the given situation, which is to construct a “robot” to fulfill the obstacles of the game, as well as to conceptualize an idea to solve problems that are occurring in the real-world. Depending on the level, the competitions vary as to the complexity of the solutions and robots.

One factor that is constant at all levels of FIRST robotics is cooperation and the idea of Gracious Professionalism®, a way of completing tasks that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

FIRST also helps its participants by providing over twenty-million dollars in scholarship opportunities for students registered in the more advanced levels.

Contact our team for more information about all four FIRST levels and how you can start your own FIRST team!