Robots Get Kids Excited About Technology


It's a coming together of minds and robots at Clarkson University.

The 5th annual FIRST Robotics Championship Tournament comes after months of preparations and planning.

"You do a lot of math. It's hard," said Nick Vielhauer, a student at Ogdensburg Free Academy.

But you might be surprised to learn that just a few months ago, many of the kids knew nothing about robotics. 

Take the Palmyra-Macedon (near Rochester) Lady Raiders Robotics Team.

Most members of their all-girls group are tackling this level of technology for the first time.

"I'm not athletic, so it's like it can be a team dedicated to intellectual thinking.  So that's what really drew me to robotics," said Amanda Packard, a member of the group.

Tournament organizer James Carroll says that's kind of the point.

"I view robotics as a fundamental way to get technology in the hands of students in a way that's very fun and motivational," said Carroll.

The learning experience continues at the competition. 

The students say they learn a lot just from viewing other robots and some admit to a small case of robot envy.

Teams compete to get their robots to manipulate objects like racquet balls and bowling balls.

The process goes beyond technology and teaches students to think critically and work as a team.

"Even if I don't go into a tech field, I can still get a lot of leadership skills out of it," said participant Allison Phillips.

And that is a very human goal for these machine makers to get beyond technology to think critically and work together.

Sunday, December 11, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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