BRISTOL, Va. - Kids get interested in things from other kids, and most times learn more quickly not from adults, but from other kids.
At the Bristol Public Library, a robotics team explained the process they went through to build a robot and get it ready for competition to other kids.
The FIRST Appalachian Robotics team explained their process for building a competitive robot to a group of younger kids at library. FIRST is a program to get kids interested in science and technology with the challenge of building a robot to do specific tasks.
Besides a competition, there's an outreach component to the program. "Part of the FIRST mission is for kids to do outreach in their communities to do what FIRST is, to inspire science and technology in children all over," said Jessica Chittum, one of the partent sponsors.
That inspiration came in the form of not Play-Doh, but a conductive clay that the kids used to make electronic things work for them.
Just like the LED lights that they used for explanation, the light was going off in the eyes of the kids.
It's a great idea of kids teaching kids because they'll figure it out. "The FIRST site says to people who are interested in it, don't worry if you don't know, these kids are going to figure it out and they're right," Jessica said.
Just like the team did when they built and programmed their robot to do its tasks. "The first time that robot moved, the whole team was there. The first time they were able to get it to, using the remote control, to get it to the wheel and go forward on its own, it was like watching parents see their child walk for the first time. We all jumped up," Jessica explained.
Parents spend a lot of time with the children looking for something that they're interested in and good at, and for many robotics may be answer. "I've never been really active. I wasn't one of those that was really sporty. So I kind of think this is my thing," team member Luke Gray said.
And that thing moves, takes commands, and is expanding learning for all kinds of kids.