SCHOOL used to be a place to learn to read and write and maybe play some sport at lunchtime.
Now you can build a robot and program it to dance, play soccer or carry out a search and rescue.
Lismore High science teacher Jim McInerney is organising the inaugural Robocup Junior challenge for the Northern Rivers and will hold a workshop today at Southern Cross University's engineering department.
The challenge, to be held in June, will see robots made from Lego and controlled with Mindstorm programming software completing a number of tasks.
There will be two-a-side robot soccer; robots finding their way to a disaster and rescuing an object and robots shaking their Lego booty in time to music.
Mr McInerney said Lismore High has had a "robotics team" for several years after getting a Google grant and building its first robot.
Now with sponsorship from North Coast Rugby Union and some money from the school they have five robots in their collection.
But the opportunities for competing against other robotics groups are limited so Mr McInerney has come up with the idea of getting other local schools involved.
Five local schools will be at the workshop on Friday.
"The idea is to show kids how to do it," he said.
"They'll get a box of Lego, a computer and then where do you go?
"They'll learn to build a robot, do some basic programming and we might get to do the programming for the search and rescue operation."
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