Crowds cheered from the bleachers and on the court in the North Gulfport 7th and 8th Grade Gym. 12 teams went head-to-head Thursday in the "First Lego League Robotics Competition".
Teacher Karen Roberts said "They're given a kit, and they're given instructions to build a robotics unit to function. They have a dozen tasks to complete and they earn points".
Eighth grader C.J. Melton is a member of the "Robo-Rockerz" Team from North Gulfport. They used their smarts, imagination and teamwork to design, program, and build a moving robot.
C.J. said "You learn more about electronics, and get to interact with people. It's fun".
The "Robo-Rockerz" had to prove to the judges that their invention really works. As the competition began, C.J. said "My heart's beating. It's nervous doing all this".
The teams have 2:30 to maneuver their robots around an imaginary Mars, and complete tricky tasks, like removing dust particles from a solar panel. As team members watched intently, time ran out. Team Robo-Rockerz were disappointed, but they kept their hopes up.
C.J. said "We didn't line up something right. It's just a few technical stuff, but we can get that fixed. We'll do a lot better next time".
The "Robo-Rockerz" didn't do too bad. They captured 7th place. These teams took home trophies: