Video: Kids vs. Engineers in a LEGO Robot Rumble

What happens when you put trained engineers and science-savvy kids in a room together for two days and ask them to battle it out with LEGO robots? We found out the answer on a recent Saturday at the Plaza Branch.

The results were… surprising.

Surprising , that is, that the kids didn’t beat up on them worse.

After all, the children and teens of the LEARN Science and Match Club of Kansas City had an unfair advantage. Their mastery of FIRST LEGO robotics has earned them national and even global rankings (eighth in the world, to be exact). So even though the adults who hunkered down for two days this past weekend at the Plaza Branch, were engineers, programmers, and a team of our own tech-savvy librarians, LEARN’s kids had gotten months to prepare.

Best of all, the challenges simulate real-world engineering problems. The theme for Geek vs. Geek was the food industry.

Get more of the story in the video below.

“We’ve been doing this for seven years, and we’ve touched several thousand kids,” said LEARN’s Rebecca Kidwell. “Our goal is giving them hands-on, interactive experiences that they think of as games but that we think of as true learning.”

Last Saturday at the Plaza, it looked as if both kids and adults were learning from each other.

“One of my favorite things about this event has been watching the kids and the grown-ups interact with each other,” said April Roy, Plaza children’s librarian and assistant branch manager. “You have professional engineers who are talking on this technical level with children, and they’re having great conversations about science and math.”

The learning doesn’t stop with robots and games, either. LEARN’s kids have recently won the first phase of an MIT grant to create a prototype product code-named Script Alert. The app uses tracking technology to identify all the prescription drugs consumers bring into their homes and make sure they take their medicines correctly.

“Our kids are doing real-life science and making a real impact on the world,” Kidwell said.

Watch more: LEARN on Fox 4’s Morning Show

Competitors at Geek vs. Geek included: Balance Innovations, Digital Maelstrom, Perceptive Software, Rhythm Engineering, UMKC, and the Kansas City Public Library. Sponsors: Balance Innovations, Synthesis Solutions Inc., and the Library.

Music in the video:

"Something Elated" (Broke For Free) / CC BY 3.0

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.

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