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Robotics competition teaches real world skills

Reported by: Jessica Albert
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Updated: 10/21/2013 10:08 am
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) — Angela Trigg prepped her students for Saturday's robotics competition for six weeks.

"It's amazing to see them use math and science that they learn in high school classes, and then come to the shop and use it to build a robot," East Rankin Academy Physics teacher Angela Trigg said.

Nineteen middle and high schools from across the state came to Starkville High School Saturday to compete in the Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology Robotics Competition (BEST).

These students are given limited materials to make a robot that can perform tasks.

"So if they mess up, if they cut their plywood incorrectly, that's it," BEST Competition Hub Director Eric Heiselt said. "They've got to figure something else out."

The students do not receive a lot of help from adults while working on their robot.

"They don't get wheels, they don't get gears," Heiselt said. "They have to make them out of whatever materials we gave them. So, they're starting incredibly from scratch."

Trigg says about half of her students go on to study engineering in college.

She says this competition helps to prepare them for the real world.

"Businesses do the same thing; they go through a testing phase a revision phase and get a product that works that they can put out in stores," Trigg said. "So, this challenge does the same thing."

These students dedicate a lot of time to this project.

"As soon as robotics season starts, they have to put in an awful lot of hours," Trigg said. "I mean, we're talking several hours a week, six to eight hours on a Saturday."

But, they say it is all worth it.

"It is a lot of pressure, but... we're out here dancing and just having fun," East Rankin Academy student Kelli Phillips said.

Trigg says this competition is something her students look forward to every year.
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