BUTTE-In the Mining City on Saturday, over 35 robotics teams from across the Northwest will come to Montana Tech for a qualifying event for the FIRST Tech Challenge.

The students are challenged to design, build and operate robots to compete in head-to-head challenges with the other teams.

The robots must do certain tasks like move a ball or cube in an arena or climb a ramp while being controlled by the students.

The competition has over 150 high school students from all grades participating in the qualifying event. The teams come from across the Northwest including Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and South Dakota.

Organizer and associate professor at Montana Tech Bryce Hill says about 12 of the 36 teams will move on to regionals in Bozeman in the upcoming months.

He adds it's a great learning experience for the students. "First of all they're learning really good skills, they're getting hands on activities with coding and with hardware and when they go on to nationals or regionals there's a lot of people that are actually watching and it can be a gateway to scholarships and get them into different schools and universities," said Hill.

The competition is in need of volunteers for Saturday from 7AM to 3 PM to judge the teams. Those in STEM related fields are encourgaed to contact Bryce Hill at Montana Tech to sign up.

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