Spring Grove’s robot competes in a challenge at a previous competition.
Spring Grove's robot competes in a challenge at a previous competition. (Submitted photo)

A robotics competition will be held at the Spring Grove Area High School Friday night and will give student competitors a chance to put their skills to use outside of textbook work.

The VEX Robotics Challenge, derived from a national robotics organization, gives each registered team a kit from which to build its robot. The kits are the same, but as long as students do not alter the materials, they can build their robot in a variety of fashions to complete certain tasks at the competition.

Brian Hastings, a physics teacher and coach for Spring Grove's Rocket Scientists club, said the teams receive their kit about a month before each competition.

This weekend, 14 teams representing eight area school districts will bring their completed robots to the challenge in Spring Grove's gymnasium.

The teams will compete for points in six different challenges. One challenge requires the robots to grasp different colored balls and place them in bins of various heights. Others measure the speed and agility of the machines.

Students are not able to consult with advisors once the contests begin. Hastings said the nature of the competition requires students to work together in their teams of three to five people and become critical thinkers. Plus, Hastings said,

constructing the robots gives students a chance to apply what they've learned in the classroom to a tactile activity.

"It really gives them an opportunity to be creative," Hastings said.

Several York County schools will participate in the competition. Spring Grove, West York, Hanover, Dover and Red Lion will all have student representation. Other schools from the region include Bermudian Springs, Ephrata and New Oxford.

Hastings said teams will arrive at 4:30 p.m. Friday to prepare for the competition, which starts at 5 p.m. He estimates the event, which is open to the public, will last until around 9:30 p.m.

Hastings said there will be trophies for the winning teams.

The competition will be held at the high school, located at 1490 Roths Church Road.

--Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.