Hoping to inspire a new crop of engineers, many educators are turning to robotics, holding design competitions, and challenging classmates to outdo one another in a battle for technical supremacy.

At the Lummi Nation School in Bellingham, Wash., for example, a group of eighth-grade science students recently worked with volunteers at Western Washington University to build remote-controlled robots used to explore the ocean.

At the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering in Stamford, Conn., high school students build electronic cars and other mechanical devices as part of an introductory class on the elements of robotics.

And later this month, in Atlanta, more

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