High Schoolers Build Basketball Playing Robots

Science, math and engineering are some of the most complex subjects in school. But playing basketball with robots made learning a lot more fun for the students at the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in Long Beach, Calif. March 16, 2012.

FIRST stands for inspiration and recognition of science and technology and is the brainchild of Segway inventor and perpetual tinkerer, Dean Kamem. Every year, Kamem with several big name sponsors like Microsoft and Raytheon hold the event to help inspire the future leaders in science and technology.

The theme of this year's competition was "Rebound Rumble" where robots competed in a friendly game of basketball.

"We have a robot designed especially for shooting at all the three heights of the baskets," said Alexis Campbell one of the students from Team Eagle Engineering.

The competition attracts students from schools worldwide and acts as a testing ground for future scientists and engineers.

"One of the things that I'm passionate about is the future of our country. We need engineers," said Rick Roberts Planning Committee Chairman for FRC. "This is where it starts. It's exciting to see these kids being involved in science and technology."

The students were excited too. They definitely did their homeworks and brought their "A" games hoping to impress fellow students and spectators alike.

"Our robot has integrated a hopper into our design," said Matthew Enloe from Team Foshae High School in explaining why his robot stands out. "When the balls come up the conveyor belt they stay right here...and it just waits to be shot."

From beginning to end, students take away some essential skills needed to succeed in their future endeavours.

" how to use power tools...how to use a programming language," said Jozefa Mckiernan from Team Marymount High School. "You learn a lot of skills too like how to solve problems, how to work through conflicts, and how to work with a lot of people."

The learning doesn't stop with the final buzzer. Following the regional competition, this year's championship is scheduled for the end of April in Saint Louis. FIRST will be giving out $14 million in scholarship. And for the students at FRC, the competition is just the beginning in a long and successful future in science.

"When I grow up, I'm going to be an aerospace engineer," said Eduardo Avila from Team Emmanuel Hearts High School.

This year's championship will be held at the end of April in Saint Louis. FIRST also gives out about 14 million dollars worth of scholarships each year. If you want more information on the FIRST competition, click here.