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LEGO Contest Helps Kids Learn About Robotics

The 9-year-old Wrightsville Beach Elementary School student"s LEGO robot automobile rolled forward on its monitor just as she had programmed it to.Driving it toward a small plastic loop, it lifted its arm to pick it up and just missed.

"Awww," she said, frowning.

LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0

For her following try, "just program it to make the arm go a small bit reduce," advised Bill Kent, vice president of CyberKids Robotics, a private company that promotes robotics within the schools. Kent has been traveling from Hickory each and every two weeks to the school"s fourth grade academically gifted for the past year to coach the kids in robotics. This enjoyable also includes a practical objective -teaching the class teamwork skills, creative problem solving and needless to say, how to obtain a robot to complete your bidding.Fellow student Ethan Pierson bent more than his computer screen attempting to fix a kink in Sara"s robot"s trajectory.

"We do it all, and the driver gets all the credit," he said, joking with Sara. He programmed another route for the robot, and Sara downloaded it from his laptop to her robot with a USB cord.

"I just like just watching the robot on the track and having to set it up is a challenge to me," Sara added.Though the program isn"t the first of its kind in New Hanover County Schools, the Wrightsville program is the very first to win at competitors.In contrast to other brainiac contests, for example Odyssey from the Mind, or even the Science Olympiad, the N.C.

LEGO League Robotics Championship solely focuses on robot teams.

In January, the two teams of fourth graders - Group Magnatron and Group Nuclear Ninjas - won two best awards at their very first regional competition in Greensboro. Smart transportation was this year"s theme. You will find 188 teams statewide and only 60 qualify for state competitors.

Group Magnatron won first location at regionals for its project solving the transportation issue of traveling to Raleigh from Wilmington magnetically levitating cars up I-40. And Group Nuclear Ninjas won second place for teamwork for its work making a nuclear-powered monorail system on Wrightsville Seaside that would defeat congestion within the summer.

Winning is uncommon for rookie teams."The fact that they were two rookie teams competing against mostly fifth to ninth graders and won speaks volumes about the quality of students and parent support they have here," Kent said.Pamela Barker, their AIG teacher, saw this kind of interest from her students she devoted the year"s classes towards the program.

"I"ve seen a lot of growth as far as teamwork. They listen to one another more, and they have a lot more confidence in their presentations now," she said.If you"re interested in picking up a Lego Mindsorm robot kit for yourself or a school project you can check out our selection on Cool Robot Toys.

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