Students from various communities throughout Texas are currently in the midst of a six-week preparation session ahead of this year's Get Excited About Robotics Competition. It's the largest regional robotics competition for elementary and middle school students in the United States, according to the University of Texas at San Antonio.
UTSA's Interactive Technology Experience Center is a co-sponsor of the event along with the AT&T Foundation. Last year, according to UTSA, about 1,500 people attended the GEAR competition, including nearly 600 competitors from 125 teams.
"GEAR is an annual robotics competition that motivates kids to pursue careers in engineering by demonstrating advanced technologies and engaging them in interactive, hands-on activities that build technical skills and foster critical thinking, self confidence, communication and leadership," according to UTSA.
Participating teams must build a robot that is able to complete predetermined tasks, including harvesting corn, delivering crops and removing manure from a barn. Of course, all will be done with small wooden pieces with hooks and cups that must be moved from one location to another.
The school's iTEC is the main organizer of the event. The center was formed in 2007 as the result of a $1.5 million grant from the AT&T foundation.