It was a clash of the brain powers Saturday morning at Omaha’s King Science Center, which hosted the regional Vex Robotics Competition. While many students were eyeing a trophy, the real prize may have been the competition itself.
The task for the elementary school competitors may have seemed simple, push a few wiffle balls into a corner. For a bonus, try to knock down a big red ball. Executing that game plan was tricky, considering they were controlling handmade robots. "This one controls opening the claw."
This arena featured a team from Ashland Park Robbins Elementary School. For them, while they have an eye on an award, it's also about making sure everyone contributes during the competition. “At the end we usually get awards if we have done a good job with like sportsmanship, communication and teamwork,” said fifth-grader Alura Seffron.
“Set it to go, drive between there, you will hit that and it will throw us off, let's try to dump at the trough.” Morton Middle School eighth-grader Sam Christensen said the best part was knowing that what he's learned here will help him later on down the road. “I think it's the hands on, the teamwork, some of the life skills you will get."
Organizers said 64 teams participated representing schools from across the metro and Iowa. Parents said there are numerous benefits to this competition. “Learn lots of skills that they will use later on in life, engineering, professional fields or even just working, no matter what there's a lot of skills they can take with them,” said parent Michaela Hawley.
For Saturday, one skill mattered above all the rest. “Make robots, duh.”
The winners from Saturday’s competition will move on to compete in a world event next April in Anaheim, California.