Homeschool kids bring robot gladiators to town

Although increasingly immersive virtual entertainment is capturing the minds of many young children these days, the scientific world seems to be rising to the occasion, fighting back to reclaim the imaginations of a generation of kids raised on video games.

With this in mind, Think Tank Kids, a program dedicated to inspiring exploration and innovation in children, is hosting two robot gladiator tournaments on Feb. 9, from 12:10 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. and Feb. 20, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Both events take place at the Cheer Zone Gym in Medford.

The robot gladiator classes are a major part of Think Tank, where kids have the opportunity not only to operate their own robot in combat, but also construct it using provided remote control cars, Legos, weapons, armor, power supplies, and more.

The classes are supervised and instructed by William Hennes, creator of the program and a well-known animator for the entertainment industry. Credited for creating three characters in the Star Wars universe, Hennes aims to inspire kids to think outside the box.

“For myself I always loved to tinker around with stuff and just explore what I could do with different toys,” he said. “The purpose of the program is to have fun with science and to inspire kids to build and explore.”

The program was originally inspired by the home-schooled community, but has expanded to all children who find interest in “building, imagining and exploring,” the program’s slogan.

In addition to providing young innovators with all of the necessary resources for building the robots, classes also familiarize kids with present day robots in modern society, as well as introduce them to basic electronics theory, physical science, and unifying concepts and processes. Using these resources, kids are then free to design robots to their liking and enter them into combat for the ultimate competition.

Anybody interested in participating must register online at the Think Tank Kids website at, which offers many other opportunities for youth to broaden their interests, from rocket balloon staging to soft air dart battles.

All activities are held in the Cheer Zone Gym at 4779 Airway Drive, Suite 106, Medford.

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