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Boys and girls: Start your robots!

They weren't quite the Transformers from the movies, but once the bell rang inside the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse, the robot's wheels turned, gears spun and metal arms extended.

The VEX Robotics Competition was the culmination of weeks of engineering and problem solving for central New York students. The students were tasked with building semi-autonomous robots ("Look, no hands!") to compete in small arenas. The robots have to be able to pick up different objects and put them into hoops, in order to score points.

There's teamwork involved, too. This year's game broke the arena up into sections, requiring the robots to form an alliance in order to score more points than their opponents during the two-minute round.

And when things didn't go according to plan, out came the screwdrivers and Allen wrenches. 

It was all part of that hands-on, real-life application of math and science skills educators talk about so much - mixed in with a healthy dose of competition, remote controls, and free doughnuts. 

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