Robotics competition gets kids involved in math, science

37 local teams competed in Saturday's event

SAN DIEGO - Hundreds of students representing different schools from all over the world competed in the 8th annual FIRST Robotics Competition. Out of the 60 teams, 37 are from the San Diego area.

While watching the competition, some are not sure what to make of it. Is this volleyball? Basketball? Or a real life video game? The answer is all of the above.

The interesting part is that teenagers are responsible for making it happen. From start to finish, the students designed, built and programmed their robots, making sure it could throw yoga balls or even play catch with another robot.

Eastlake High School mentor Joel Foust says it is not something you can learn from a textbook.

"There's nothing like the hands-on experience of doing robotics," he said.

A big part of the hands-on experience is troubleshooting. On Friday, Eastlake had a computer malfunction and they had to get everything fixed just in time to get on the playing field.

Itzel Esparza added, "If something goes wrong that second, you have to fix it right then or everything's going to go down."

Statistics show there is a need to get kids from California involved in science and math. Last year, California was ranked 45th in math and science achievement.

It is projected that by 2018, at least 80 percent of the jobs that will be available in California will require computing and engineering skills.

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