SALISBURY, Md. - When most people think of after school activities, they usually consider things like sports, music or drama clubs. So it may be a surprise that Parkside High School students are building a robots.
"What we do is we try to build as versatile a robot as we can," J.C. Culp said. He's a senior at Parkside, and it's his fourth year on the robotics team.
"I want to be an electrical engineer and this is engineering at it's finest, at a high school level."
He's putting his skills to task for the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics build season. F.I.R.S.T. is a national organization, whose name means "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."
Parkside and four other teams on the Eastern Shore, are just a few of the of thousands of teams across the country who got a kit of parts in January, and has just six weeks to design and build a robot that can play in the organizations "Aerial Assist" competition.
It has to catch, pass and shoot huge balls on a field with other robots, and the team that scores the most points wins.
To do it, the team of nearly 25 students have to work together using everything from hand tools to a 3-D printer. And, a lot of patience.
"Going through the first few weeks was total mayhem, with a bunch of different ideas," Culp said. "And then finally saying 'okay guys, lets put it all together and see how it works.'"
"Were feeling pretty good," said senior Jacob Bardzell. "Our goal was to be able to shoot the balls into goals that were seven feet high and it's looking like it will be able to do that."
All of the finishing touches have to be complete in just about a week. F.I.R.S.T. requires all teams to "bag and tag" their robots February 18, and ship them out to their regional competitions.
Parkside will compete April third, and if they do well, they could be headed to the national finals in St. Louis at the end of April.
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