Hardin County students prepare to wage war with robots - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hardin County students prepare to wage robot wars

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's a Kentucky team that's ranked in the Top 10 in the world for what it does on the field and with a ball -- but it's not what you think.

WDRB's Gilbert Corsey witnessed an all-out war in a classroom at Central Hardin High School.

A robot war.

"It's a cool hobby," said student Cody Bybee. "Kind of like an erector set on steroids."

But it's more than just a game for Bybee and his classmates: it's the curriculum coming to life. Central Hardin has a five-part engineering program under Project: Lead the Way. Students put their math and science skills to the test after class, building robots from scratch.

"First we started with a design, then built prototypes, and from there, we actually put it together," said Michael Riggs, a senior. "Kind of trial and error...saw what worked and what didn't."

This year, Central Hardin is competing VEX Robotics, the largest student robotics organization in the world. Ten-thousand teams in 24 different countries -- and these guys currently rank in the Top 10.

The students try to use their robots to move balls or objects across the playing field into the areas that will score the most points -- but the other team is trying to do the same, and will take them out. It's the kind of fighting a teacher likes to see.

"It's probably one of the most rewarding experiences I've had teaching, because they've gotten so involved with it," said Jason Neagle, a teacher.

The students are building robots today -- but some of them may be building bridges tomorrow. If the team stays the course, they'll compete in the VEX World championships in California this April. Bybee says he's not playing: he's learning how to change the world.

"You're on the ground level, behind the scenes -- you are what makes the world," he said. "Every aspect of engineering, there is an engineer behind it."

Lesson learned.

Copyright 2013 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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