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Students Advance to National Lego Robotics Competition

REPUBLIC, Mo. -- Nine Republic Middle School students recently competed in a Lego robotics competition in Kansas City and became one of 35 teams to qualify for the national finals in January.
REPUBLIC, Mo. -- Nine Republic Middle School students recently competed in a Lego robotics competition in Kansas City and became one of 35 teams to qualify for the national finals in January.

They spend their time after school using math and science to build robots.

And their efforts have taken them all the way to a national stage.

Three days a week this Republic Middle School math classroom becomes a robotics lab, featuring the most high-tech Lego set around.

These nine kids must build robots, then maneuver them around an obstacle course to earn points in competition.

And we're not talking remote control here. They have to pre-program these robots to do certain actions around the board like lift up a house.

Meet Bethany Overturf, 7th grader and aspiring programmer.

"It's a challenge," she said, "You program the motor to either go forward backward or turn."

She creates a path the robot will take using the computer.

"The programming is quite intricate and Bethany is quite good at it," Math Teacher Fran Forester said.

"I mean it comes down to degrees of turns whether you're successful or not and they have to do the math to do it," she said.

Forester said the Legos provide a fun way to have the kids apply what they learn in class.

"You learn tons of math with robots. There's radius, circumference, degrees, then when you put it in a Lego all of a sudden they can't wait," she said.

The students just competed in a regional competition in Kansas City and advanced to nationals in January.

"We didn't expect to qualify but we did," Forester said.

These future engineers don't have their robots quite perfect, but they won't give up until they succeed.

And Forester said that is the most valuable lesson of all.
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