Local students excel at robot challenge

Local students excel at robot challenge

418
Cannington Community College students Xinyu Shen, Taea Maher-Delaney, Tanya Laws and Alison Osborne with their robot design for the rescue challenge.Photograph — Richard Polden.

Over 600 primary and secondary school students participated in the annual RoboCup Junior WA state competition on August 9 at Curtin Stadium.

Four schools from the Cannington area participated in the Robotics Olympics this year, Cannington Community College, Rossmoyne Senior High School, Willetton Primary School and Riverton Primary School.

This year’s Robotic Olympics had an onstage performance (dance and theatrical), soccer and rescue challenges designed to provide a realistic link between what students learn in the classroom and the real-world application of programming and robotics.

Cannington Community College had three passionate girls under 15 – Tanya Laws, Xinyu Shen and Alison Osborne – who worked hard for five weeks to programme a robot that completes a rescue course.

Fourteen-year-old Tanya Laws said the challenge was for the robot to identify the victim.

Even though the girls were knocked out from the finals they said the experience not only helped them solve these challenges but it taught them how to adapt to new ones.

STEM teacher at Cannington Community College Nick Stretch said the girls will do it all over again and they know now what to expect.

Lego Master David, Riverton Primary School student Frank Holdom and Willetton Primary School Raymond Hou Lego Master G. Photograph-Richard Polden.

“I am super proud of the girls being involved in RoboCup and getting to the finals,” he said.

“The girls have gone from needing a lot of teacher supervision to solving problems independently and it’s really built their critical thinking and collaboration skills.

“They also want to help other groups from their school who want to get involved, to not make the same mistakes they did.”

David and ‘G’, runners-up on the television show LEGO Masters, displayed their mechanical and technical skills with a LEGO display.

Mr David said working with primary and secondary school students this year was impressive, as he loved seeing what children could build using their imagination.

“Lego is an avenue that they can create or engineer anything they want, anything their imaginations can come up with,” he said.

Fifteen-year-old Tommy Hu and sixteen-year-old Haru Jayasekara, from Rossmoyne Senior High School, came in third for the soccer challenge.

Rossmoyne Senior High School students Haru Jayasekara, Keertikka Ganesan, Ganleon Wong and Tommy Hu

Tommy said they spent a lot of time programming and he felt it paid off with the results.

“It was good watching my team and other teams playing in the competition because you think you are covering all the options, but sometimes the robots do things you don’t expect, which can be pretty funny, “he said.

The boys took one month to design and program two robots for the soccer challenge, the ‘attacker’ and a ‘goalie’.

Tomy and Haru said they are planning to go to the nationals in Melbourne later this year but before doing that they will rebuild and reprogram their 2019 Robocup robots.

Rossmoyne SHS digital technology teacher Siok Gan said the students showed so much initiative and hard work during the competition.

“I think the main criteria to be successful is if, during the competition, the students can think on their toes, because anything could go wrong with their robots,” she said.

“Students learn that they can only succeed through perseverance.”