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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- Thousands of school children have descended upon St. Louis this week for a high-stakes robotics competition. The kids are part of a program aimed at getting youth engaged in science and technology. Nearly 40,000 young, future innovators are gathering Thursday morning at the America’s Center for the 2015 FIRST Robotics Championship. Organizers are calling the event the ‘Ultimate Sport for the Mind’ competition.

These bright minds have traveled from more than 30 countries to participate. All grade levels from kindergarten to high school seniors are involved. The students have been working for the last six weeks to design, build and program robots to compete against other teams.

This year’s theme for the mentor- based program is ‘recycling.’ Students had to include reusable or recyclable parts in their robots.

FIRST, or ‘For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,’ was founded to foster students’ interest in S.T.E.M., Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The FIRST Robotics Championship will take place from April 25th through April 26th. It’s free and open to the public!

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