High school teams across Minnesota will compete in a regional robotics competition beginning today at the University of Minnesota.
Students will take over Williams and Mariucci arenas with their robots for a chance to compete nationally.
More than 126 high school teams from Minnesota and surrounding states are expected to participate in the Minnesota Regional For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competitions.
The program, which was founded in 1989, aims to promote science, engineering, technology and math to high school students through interactive competitions. With the help of mentors and engineers, students are given six weeks to design and build a robot to compete in tournaments.
"These competitions are great for students to get their feet wet in engineering, math and technology," said Rhonda Zurn, the director of communications at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology. "Students are also showing more interest in these subject areas, and the U wants to support them as much as we can."
This will be the University's second time hosting the competition. Organizers expect a high turnout.
"These competitions are very popular," Zurn said. "There were thousands of students and spectators last year."
Minnesota Regional competitions begin at 9 a.m. Friday. Championship matches begin at 1:45 p.m. Saturday. The top six regional winners will have the opportunity to advance to the national championship in Atlanta on April 15.
The event is free and open to the public.