A unique Robotics challenge gives students a chance to exercise their technical skills and get their creative juices flowing with several different competitions for their creations to master.
At the annual RoboCupJunior Tournament in Orange, New Jersey, students of all ages enter their robots to compete in three different types of events.
"The students are whatever age, I don't know who are the youngest, but whatever age they can do programming and building robots up to 19," says Amy Eguchi of RoboCupJunior NYC/NJ. "There is a soccer competition, a rescue competition, and a dance competition."
There are three U.S. regions that compete – NYC/NJ, a separate Northeast region and then a Southeast Region. The top teams in each event are invited to the world finals, this year being held in Turkey.
One factor that sets this competition apart is that from year to year the type of robots and the tasks they take on stay largely the same, allowing kids who stick with the program to build on what they're learning each year.
"You build your problem solving skills in ways that other things in school don't really help with. I think it's a special experience," says one participant.
"I like the programming part of it where you get to solve problems and try to make it work," says another.
RoboCupJunior is now a part of National Robotics Week, an initiative designed to encourage students nationwide to consider so-called "STEM careers" in Science Technology, Engineering and Math through work like this with robots.
To find out more about STEM programs in your area, check out NY1's parent company Time Warner Cable's Connect a Million Minds initiative at ConnectAMillionMinds.com.