Students preparing for Robo Rumble

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Students in High Prairie School Division will showcase their skills in a robotics competition in mid-March.

The second annual Robo Rumble is scheduled in High Prairie on March 11-12 at the Gordon Buchanan Recreation Centre. The competition is organized by the school division technology department and success coaches.

Grades 3-6 students will compete on March 11 and Grades 7-12 on March 12.

“We want to work together to increase interest in technology careers,” says Sascha Klingsch, director of technology.

“We decided to hold robotics competitions within the division with the end goal of sending the top competing students to the Skills Canada Alberta Robotics Competition in Edmonton.”

More than 100 students in robotics clubs across the division are working to design and build their own robots, he says.

“They will have in-school competitions to see which teams will be coming to the main event to represent their school,” Klingsch says.

A total of 10 teams will compete at the elementary level with the top two teams from five schools.

Eight teams will compete in the junior and senior high school levels with the top team from each school.

Each team includes a maximum of three students.

Teams are required to conceptualize, design and build a robot utilizing a Lego Mindstorms Kit that is able to complete specific challenges, Klingsch says.

“Challenges are different each year and are designed and tested by our technology department,” Klingsch says.

The competition last year required students to compete in a robotics sumo match in which robots had to knock the other robots out of the ring by pushing alone. “This year, we have lifted the restrictions on the robots allowing students to utilize lifts, gears, arms, and other such tools to knock the robot out of the ring,” Klingsch says.

“Junior and senior high students have an additional challenge that their robots must be able to follow a line race.”

Robo Rumble is just the start of something new to expand skills of students.

“When planning for the long-term goal of our students competing in Skills Canada Alberta, we selected robotics as the first step in the path to that goal,” Klingsch says.

“Our competition’s guiding principle is “to develop, enhance, encourage interests, skills, and understanding of STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] and technology careers”.

The first Robo Rumble for junior and senior high schools drew seven teams last year.

“Several teams that participated last year are returning this year to try and take the trophy from last year’s champions from Georges P. Vanier School in Donnelly,” Klingsch says.

Robo Rumble will be open to the public.

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