KWWL-TV and KCRG-TV: High School Students Get Competitive at Robotics Championship

By Hillary Maglin
Multimedia Journalist

Remote controlled robots are something most kids save up money to buy – but these robots were handmade by high school students like Madison Johnson.

“[We're] just having downright robot fun," said Madison.

She's part of the Denver Cybots -- her school's robotics club – and they're competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge Championships.

It allows students to work with and against other schools.

“One match, I could be with Team A, and the next match I could be going up against them," she said.

Four robots take the floor in each match, with two on each team.

The goal for each team is to have their robot score as many points as possible in each match, and the best way to do that is by having the robot climb up a ramp and do a pull up on a bar.

Teams also gain points by moving blocks to different sections of the competition field with their robot.

Engineering staff from local universities even come to recruit students.

“We see this as a great recruitment tool program for students going into the field of engineering,” said Rebecca Whitaker of the school of engineering at the University of Iowa.

While Madison isn't sure what she wants to go to college for, she says there's nothing quite like FIRST Tech Challenge.

“There's opportunities around every corner," she said. "and I found my passion, really.”

High schools from Iowa and Nebraska will compete through the weekend.

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