Middle school students compete in robotics competition at Lufkin - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Middle school students compete in robotics competition at Lufkin Civic Center

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Creativity and imagination, that's what goes into these robots featured in the Wyoming Smith and the Lost Cities of Gold Robotics Competition.

"There are so many kids here and they're so smart and it's really cool to see other people's robots because everyone thinks differently," said Zoe Rodgers, 8th grade student Tenaha ISD.

This year's theme is Yellowstone National Park.

About 250 students from, Pine Tree, Athens, Tenaha and other region seven schools sent their robots through a course representing the park and overcoming obstacles related to various landmarks.

Gifted and talented specialist for the competition Donna Ashby says students benefit from competing because robotics involves not only math and science but also language arts and social studies. 

"Cross-curriculum connection so we hope to tie everything together and create a love of learning, a love of creating thinking," said Ashby.

The robots are made out of legos and once students build the basic robot they make additions and adjustments to fit the course.

"The work has only just begun because then you have to open up your computer and really get to programming," said Tyler Smith, 7th grade student Wells ISD.

The students are judged on how well the robot moves through the course and completes the obstacle.

Zoe Rodgers and her partner Cullen have both competed in robotics for three years.

They say it's challenging and makes you think outside the box.

"The first time I programmed a robot I couldn't get it to work, it wouldn't come on and then when I pressed the button it was really freaky because it started moving on its own," said Rodgers.

These students say despite the bumps in the road, the challenges that come with robotics are worth it and helps them improve year after year.

Officials say the students begin preparing their robots in early September.

The middle school competition continues Wednesday and the high school completion starts Thursday.

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