January 06, 2018 10:56 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- Dozens of Austin elementary school students took part in a robotics tournament at Neveln Elementary School Saturday, learning the ropes before a larger tournament takes place at Austin High School later this month.
Teams from multiple schools, including Neveln, Southgate, and IJ Holton, competed to see whose robot took home top honors in an event Neveln's robotics coach said was the first of its kind in the district for younger students.
"This is the only tournament we do with the elementaries, and so it's giving kids on the teams a chance to feel what the real tournament is like," coach Clint Phillips said.
Students work in teams to build, program and then test the robots, which they then put up against other teams. While that might sound simple, it involves weeks of planning.
"You spend like 5-6 weeks building the robot by itself, and then you have to build the track and everything and you have to get the hang of driving it," Jazmin Conner, a 4th grader at Southgate, said.
"I always liked building and this should be really fun for me," Naryk Rector, a 4th grader at Neveln, said.
And while it may be disguised as fun, the students are learning quite a bit, Phillips said, including skills that will help them regardless of what they do in the future.
"I see it as basic problem solving that the kids are doing," he said. "This is a pretty complicated activity they're doing and they're having to break it down into smaller chunks which is a great skill that I think any employer would look for in an adult."
That learning isn't lost on the kids, either.
"When you're older, you'll know some engineering to build robots, maybe if you want to start building robots that help people," 5th grader Gavin Brekke said.
Following Saturday's tournament, a statewide tournament will be held at Austin High School on January 20, bringing together 24 teams from all over Minnesota.
Created: January 06, 2018 10:56 PM
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