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      FIRST robotics teams growing in the Upper Peninsula

      High school robotics teams are growing in the U.P.

      There are about fifteen now, but the newly developed teams are in Marquette county. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, students put their creative brains to the test. What is the challenge? They seek to build a robot.

      "When we work with the robot, it doesn't always work the way you want it to the first time," said Chad Racine, student. "So you really have to just keep trying and trying. You have to kind of make deductions and really have to be able to solve problems."

      It's all part of the FIRST Robotics program which has been in Marquette county for two years now. Teams from Westwood and Ishpeming High Schools are working together with mentors and coaches.

      "They come up with ideas; we turn those ideas around into a working project. That's where the mentors and coaches come in--to help steer them in the direction that will allow the project to work," said Doug Elliott, team mentor.

      This program helps students develop technical skills, like engineering, mechanical, programming and business, to name a few.

      However, the real action comes during competition. In four weeks, their robot will be fully built. For this year's competition, it must be able to pick up and throw Frisbees, plus climb a pyramid. But that's a challenge they can handle.

      They will be heading downstate to Traverse City next month for their first competition. To make it down there, they need your help to make it happen. It takes at least $5,000 for each team to pay for creating the robot, transportation, and competition fees.

      For more information on robotics teams, check out http://www.usfirst.org and if you're interested in helping the team, contact the coach here.