REED CITY — Using their brains is just one of my things the Reed City Robotics team members need to do in order to succeed at building a functioning robot.

The season for the robotics team has just begun and members are hard at work learning what it takes to create a robot that will complete this year’s given task.

On Jan. 3 the team kicked off the season with a video on what their task is. This years challenge is called Recycle Rush.

“Our challenge is to create a robot that will stack totes on top of each other,” said Brad Smith, Reed City High School science teacher and robotics team coach. “The more you stack, the more points you receive.”

The team was given materials to work with and have six weeks before the competition.

The team is given 2.5 minutes inside a ring. The first 15 seconds, the robots are pre-programmed to stack the totes the best they can. With the remaining time, the team controls the robot to complete the task.

“They have to do everything from scratch,” Smith said. “The design and ideas are 100 percent their own.”

When the team understands what they need to design, they begin making prototypes.

“If it works, we keep it, if not, we try something new,” Smith said. “There isn’t a solution to the challenge or a right and wrong answer.”

Lorenz Hoernel, freshman at Reed City, has been spending time after school working with the robotics team. He has chosen to program the remote they will be using so it controls the robot. To do this, he has to use a program on the computer.

“It’s extremely hard because you have to think so abstract,” Hoernel said. “It’s a challenge learning how to program the remote.”

Shenouea Angious, junior at Reed City, participates in the robotics team because of the many different aspects involved in it.

“It’s a lot of problem solving,” Angious said. “We have to use the materials we are given and the budget we have. Once it’s complete, we get to compete and feel a sense of pride for what we have done.”

The team will be competing on March 13 and 14 in Traverse City against 40 other teams.  They also will compete March 20 and 21.

“When the kids come in here to work, it gives them a chance to get away from the real world and focus on their task here,” Smith said. “They are working hard, having fun and stepping up to the challenge set before them.”