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Baltimore School Kids Race Robots During Grand Prix Of Summer Learning

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As the city gets ready for the Baltimore Grand Prix, hundreds of students are doing some racing of their own.

Andrea Fujii tells us how elementary schoolers are speeding to the top of the class.

Robots are taking over the Timonium Fairgrounds as 230 middle-schoolers show off their summer projects they built from scratch.

“You need to have at least four wheels, a lift and a chassy,” said Kaili Beverly, a sixth-grader. “As long as you have those three things, you can build a robot.”

But it’s not that easy. They’ve been working hard during the Grand Prix of Summer Learning– named after Baltimore’s big race in September– to get ready for this day of competition.

“They’ve had the opportunity to infuse speed, velocity, time, measurement, to kind of infuse that kind of mathematics component,” said Charlene Footman, program coordinator.

Sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders from 150 city schools are participating in the program that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math.

“You have to like measure the actual screws to know what they are talking about and it helped me more with math and decimals,” said Dariah Young, a seventh-grader.

Federal funding for the program ends this year. Now organizers are looking for private donations to cover the $5 million cost.

Though the students are competing for the best robots, the real accomplishment is that they got this far.

“I’m hoping it does pretty good. I worked really hard on it,” Beverly said.

Another event that culminates the Grand Prix of Summer Learning is the Soap Box Derby. Thursday, dozens of students will race cars they made themselves.

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