Updated 02/17/2010 06:08 AM
Students hard at work in Lego Robotics Tournament
Many students in the Southern Tier are enjoying some time off from school for winter break. But as our Vince Slomsky tells us, some lucky kids are still putting their minds to the test in Horseheads at the fifth annual Lego Robotics Tournament.
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HORSEHEADS, N.Y. -- It may look like all fun and games, but these kids are hard at work during their winter break in the fifth annual Lego Robotics Tournament inside the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center.
"It's just a great way to spend your vacation instead of just sitting around in your house. Get a little robotics going," said Christina Paliotta, a home schooled eigth grader.
"It's challenging. Kids learn math, science, technology and it's a great way to spend the winter break," said Ron Hoodak of the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center.
More than 30 students from local schools and home school programs are taking part in this year's tournament. They get all kinds of hands-on training from computer programming to building the actual robots from scratch.
"We learn a lot about computers and the construction of Legos and even stuff about how the wheels move like we had to take the rubber part off with friction and everything. You learn a lot," said Paliotta.
The hope is that these kids can start off by building something as small as a Lego robot and end up later in life maybe building something as big as a plane.
"I'm really optimistic that these kids are not only going to make great representatives like teachers, they're going to make great engineers also. And we need those people in this society," said Hoodak.
Aside from learning about all the technical stuff, many of the kids will remember something else as they grow up.
"Well, I've learned about some teamwork. That you can't just do it by yourself, you have to have a team with you," said Nicholas Bifano, a Horseheads fifth grader.
And at $10 a student, the program provides a great benefit to all the parents out there too.
The tournament will wrap up Wednesday morning with awards and a graduation ceremony. A second tournament has been scheduled for April.
Time Warner Cable and this station are committed to The Connect a Million Minds program, inspiring youth to develop science, technology, engineering and math skills. For more information, visit connectamillionminds.com.