Next week 17 students and three teachers from Camden Haven High will take their robo creation to Sydney and battle for a place at the world robotics championships.
“If you’ve seen Battle Bots on tv, the competition is like that, but not with robots trying to destroy each other,” said STEM teacher Jasper Pengelly.
“The robots are competing by completing a series of construction tasks. Teams competing actually help each other out. It’s a fantastic experience for our students.”
From March 13 to 18 the students, from year 7 to 11 will compete at the Homebush Exhibition Centre for the second time in the FIRST Robotic Contest.
In their first competition in 2016 Camden Haven High School earned a two-year scholarship to build a robot from kit and enter the competition which sees public and private schools and universities from Australia and overseas. Entry cost is $6,500 per year.
Students build and program their robot to perform required tasks like delivering a cog to a peg, shoot balls into a goal and climb a rope. Then the drivers take over and work the robot with a joystick remote control to undertake other duties.
“You find, if your robot crashes or breaks down, other teams will offer tools, advice and assistance to get your robot back up and running because all teams want the robots to be competing at their best,” Jasper said.
“The group of students are very dedicated, giving up time during the summer holidays, before school, lunchtimes and after school to work on the robot to get it ready for competition. Not only that, they had to work within a set budget.”
Last year the Camden Haven High team finished an impressive third in the overall competition.
Speaking on behalf of the team, students Ebony Nichols and Elizabeth Legge said they worked on the robot intensively for six weeks, constructing, testing, researching, engineering, repeating tests and used their deepest problem solving skills to overcome technical hurdles.
“We worked hard to give us the best chance to have a good robot, a fun team and represent the school at our best,” Elizabeth said.
“We all contributed in various ways. When there was a problem everyone’s idea was listened to because we all have different skills that combine well together in creating a great robot.”
Ebony said the team was extremely excited to be involved in the competition again and was ready to soak up the knowledge and experience of their fellow competitors and mentors which include university teams and engineers from NASA.
“A NASA engineer came to our school last year before the competition to teach coding and gave us tips. This year we are on our own,” Elizabeth said.
In 2018, the school will be working hard to raise the money to enter the competition again.
In the meantime, a YouTube channel will stream from the competition. The link will be available after March 13 on the firstaustralia.org website