Teens learn science by building robots

Some young students are breaking ground in robotics. These students, from the New York area, built robots for a competition at the Javits Center.

From the same work benches of a high school shop class, this is what the next generation is building. Ashley Ortega, a junior, is part of the Newtown High School Robot Club. They call themselves the Technotics. The Queens student are working to build a robot for an upcoming tournament at the Javits Center hosted by FIRST, an organization geared toward inspiring young people interested in science and technology. It is a natural fit for many students these days, says teacher Richard Pagnaik.

The competition is like a varsity sport of the mind. Teams receive points when the robots -- controlled by students like Chris Sanchez -- pick up and stack containers. He will have to do it against some stiff competition from an up-and-coming Yonkers team.

Theodore Kim is captain of the Yonkers High School Mechadogs, created just two years ago. Adam Thiessien says what students are learning here stretches well beyond any classroom.

Clubs like these also inspiring young women like Aida Mehovac and Hillary Frank to break down gender barriers in a field traditionally dominated by men.

From the same rooms where generations of young students have tinkered, they are driving their ideas toward the future.