A robotics tournament held at Southern River College saw 36 teams of young engineers battling it out with robots they designed, constructed and coded, on custom-made tabletops.
The teams were competing in the first Gosnells Regional First Lego League (FLL) Tournament last Saturday.
FLL is an internationally acclaimed program that challenges young people aged 9 to 16 to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through robotics.
In addition to robotics challenges, the teams were required to present an original innovation project that addressed the question: “How can you use technology and the arts to help engage others in what you love to do?”
The Southern River College team’s project was an app called DETOX, a system for parents and younger gamers to report online abuse and bullying.
With creative monikers such as “The BrickBreakers”, “Brick to the Future” and “Bumble Bees”, the teams were also assigned points on their engineering process and core values of teamwork, gracious professionalism, discovery, impact, and innovation throughout the competition.
The high-tech event was orchestrated by John Townley, a teacher and robotics coach at Southern River College, with support from college staff and a contingent of Curtin University STEM Outreach volunteers.
Curtin University STEM Outreach, recognised with the Premier’s Science Award in 2021, has been championing FIRST LEGO League in Western Australia since 2013.
Mr Townley said the FLL Tournament, which prepares young people for careers in STEM, was a remarkable success:
“The Gosnells Regional FLL Tournament was a high-energy day of science, dancing, robotics, and fun,” he said.
“Students enjoyed outdoor games, group dancing, and of course competing in the robot games.
“Many parents came along to support their young engineers and teachers experienced the joy of seeing their students perform independently in a team tackling incredibly challenging activities.
“Every student in every team conducted themselves brilliantly, representing their schools and communities with pride and demonstrating the FIRST Robotics core values.
The students helped each other to succeed whilst competing with each other.”
Awards were presented to 11 teams, along with invitations to the Perth District National Finals scheduled for Saturday (December 9), at Curtin University Engineering Pavilion.
Four teams from these finals will qualify for the FLL World Championship in Houston, Texas.
Photographs – Richard Polden