High school robot builders square off in Plainfield

A team from Danville built a robot named "Surge." (WTHR image by Anna Carrera)
PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WTHR) - High school students from around Indiana are putting their technological skills to the test. They’re facing off with their four-foot-tall robots in a competition this weekend to win a trip to the Indiana FIRST state finals.

People packed the Plainfield High School gym this weekend to show support for their favorite teams.

“Our school is so excited to be hosting this competition,” said Plainfield High junior Jeanette Snyder. “We've never hosted one before, but we've been a team for about eight years now.”

Their team works together – using science, math, engineering and more – to make and program robots.

“I don't learn so well just in a classroom,” said Danville Community High senior Jason Randall. “I learn better when I'm able to get in there. That's exactly what robotics is about.”

During the competition, three teams work together as an alliance and face off against another alliance. They try to score as many points as possible by moving and collecting yellow cubes before time runs out.

“It's fun and stressful at the same time,” said Castle High sophomore Luke Oxley.

“They're always keeping you thinking about what the challenge is going to be next year and how different is it going to be,” said Chris Melvin, who works for Toyota Indiana and sponsors some of the teams. “They're continuously challenging the schools and the students to think outside the box.”

Teenagers we talked with say they're learning more than just those STEM subjects.

“If someone needs a part, you'll see another team give them a part, even if there competing against each other,” said Oxley. “Everyone helping each other, it's really nice.”

And it’s even more nice when your team wins.

The state championship is in Kokomo next month.

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