It’s 3 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon and 30 middle school students find themselves seated at tables in three-person teams looking at boxes of assorted plastic pieces, instructional manuals and laptops.Next, they are listening to someone displaying and describing three different map scenarios. What’s going on here? It’s a robotics challenge … and the students are to build and program robots that will successfully navigate one of three courses. Each student has tasks to complete—choosing correct parts, construction and programming—and the teams compete to see whose robot will successfully navigate the most challenging course. There are focused eyes, occasional perplexed looks, and at times, animated discussions—but all seem to be learning and having fun. Once the trial runs begin, the competition heats up; and in the end, one robot changes lanes to avoid the oil spill, exits at the off-ramp and is crowned champion. For those who participated, the activity seemed best summed up with three words—“fun,” “cool,” and “great”!