While the Banana-nauts prepare for their first competition in the Lego robotics competition next weekend in Sparks, there's still a lot of hard work to be done.
But don't tell them that.
"These are Legos," explained Matthew Gunkel, 10, a fifth-grader at Seeliger Elementary School, "they have to be fun."
Despite the hours Gunkel and his team have spent building and programming a robot for the Northern Nevada FIRST Lego League Championship Tournament next Saturday, the appeal has not waned.
"Science is awesome, in my opinion," said Adam Daniels, 10, a fifth-grader at Seeliger Elementary School.
The team is one of about a handful in Carson City that is part of the national program founded in 1989 by Segway inventor Dean Kamen to inspire youth to become involved in technology and science.
They will join 18 other teams at the regional competition at Sparks High School.
Students compete in a three-part competition. The first is to build and program a robot to complete a variety of tasks. Each task is assigned a point value, and the team who receives the most points wins.
On the Banana-naut team, Ryan Lucky, 13, a seventh-grader at Carson Middle School, is known as "the master" for his programming ability.
But he says it's just something he likes to do.
"Legos just have an inherent awesomeness," he said. "There's endless possibilities you can do with it."
The second part of the competition is a project. Teams have to identify a current technology then create a presentation explaining how they would improve upon it.
For example, the Banana-nauts chose bionic eyes. They researched the technology currently available and found special glasses that give limited sight to the blind.
The developed a presentation on ways that technology could be improved, while not actually having to figure out exactly how.
"The kids learn how to take a problem, and say this is what the solution needs to have," explained coach Rick Frewert.
The third element teams will be judged on is how well they work together.
More than just a competition, however, fellow coach Richard Gunkel said the skills the students are learning now will better prepare them for success in the future.
"A lot of these kids who started here take such a liking to it, they continue on, and by the time they're in high school they have such an aptitude for this that they're taking higher level math and college courses," he said.
He said participants often go on to receive scholarships to prestigious universities and pursue careers in technology and science.
Frewert said the key is the solution-based thinking the program instills, which may also be its best-kept secret.
"They have no idea what they're really learning," he said.