Created: 12/14/2013 10:37 PM KAALtv.com
By: Sean Boswell
(ABC 6 News) -- Twenty one groups of some very smart 7th to 12th graders gathered at Albert Lea High School Saturday. The kids were competing for a spot in the VEX Robot World Championship.
"What kid doesn't like playing with rector sets?" said one of the members of the Windom Eagles, a team that went to the championship in Anaheim, CA last year.
"Across the nation there were 7,200 teams last year, and we were fortunate enough to make it to the top 20 in the world," said Bob Ruby, the Eagles coach.
The group only started making robots a year ago, but the group came together quickly as one.
“Three of them that were very good leaders. We had some individuals that were very good at mechanical skills, and together they bonded as a team," said Ruby.
Ruby says that STEM skills help to make a good robot: science, technology, engineering, and math. One of the coordinators of the event says that making robots can help these kids down the line.
"We use this not only as an opportunity for students to learn critical thinking and teamwork along with stem, but also that there's careers available that they would find interesting if they like robotics," said Jessica Gehrke, with VEX Robotics.
The Eagles say this competition is more competitive than others they've competed in.
"The meet in Sioux Falls was a lot smaller. It was more of a scrimmage, and so this one is much more official, and there's more teams here.”
The event in Albert Lea is one of just three VEX Robotics events in Minnesota every year. The next event will take place up in St. Cloud on January 25th.