These Chesterfield kids are building award-winning robots

Posted at 9:27 AM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 08:18:05-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Jason McGarvey saw that his son and his friends had a real interest in Legos and building things. He thought it would be fun to get them involved in a robotics club, even though they were only 5th graders.

"I started looking around to see if there was any kind of club around here to join and I couldn't find anything," Jason said.

He went online and discovered a company called Vex Robotics. Vex helps kids design, build, and program robots for competitions.

Now his son's independent robotics team, which they call Synonyms of Awesome, meets regularly in the attic above his garage to learn about and perfect small robots.

Synonyms of Awesome received two 2nd place finishes and one 1st place finish in recent Vex Robotics competitions.

That also qualified them for a spot in the Vex IQ World Championship next month in Louisville, Kentucky.

On the way, the kids are learning lessons about science, technology, engineering, and math.

"I think the best way to get kids to be, to learn things like math and science is get them doing something they really like doing," Jason said. "And just kind of sneak the learning in there.  I don't even think they realize they're learning anything.  I think they're just having fun."

The team's success as rookies has also brought on unexpected expenses. Synonyms of Awesome has started a GoFundMe account to help them raise money for entry fees, hotel rooms, and travel expenses.

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