Students getting ready for robot competition in Hampton

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Students at Hampton's Phoebus High are ready for competition.

The challenge: Get a robot that they designed and built in class to pick up a large, rubber ball, which did not always go smoothly and then successfully throw it over a goal and score for their team.

Students like 14-year-old Hunter Lawrence say, "It's pretty cool to know you're building the program that actually makes the robot run."

It started with a design and it's in the concept and design phases where subjects like calculus, trigonometry and physics help bring the robot to life. And it's made these difficult subjects fun. Just ask 14-year-old Michael Hendrickson.

"My favorite part was just learning all these new concepts that I've never heard of before," says Hendrickson.

Sixteen-year-old Javon McKinney agrees.

"I love it. I love doing robotics and all this different manufacuturing stuff because I know it's gonna help me in life," says McKinney.

The students also get exposed to using the same type of equipment used by professionals. It allowed them, for example, to make the wheel system for their robot.

The students on Phoebus' robotics team, the Phantom Mentalist, have spent countless hours during and after school gearing up for a regional competition this week in Richmond.

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