Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Putting their Skills to Work

Today Tyler and I had the honour of refereeing the Robotics competition, part of the Ontario Technical Skills Qualifying Competition. We had an amazing day of learning with the teams from CCI and BDHS. To begin, both of the student created robots had to pass a pre-competition inspection for compliance with the safety and design rules before they will be allowed to participate. Then the two teams participated in a harvest simulation in which the robots moved crops (golf balls, straight pipes and elbow pipes) from a collection bin to a destination stand. The robots were controlled by a driver, who was directed by a spotter. The spotter could move around the perimeter of the playing court and communicated directions to the the driver. 

After the first game, one of the robots was in need of repair and both teams came together to problem solve. It was impressive to watch the students working together to solve a design challenge with creativity. There perseverance paid off and we were able to continue with tournament play. 

During the playoff round both teams gave their all and the exciting third match ended with CCI qualifying as the team moving forward to the provincial OTSC in May. 

The robotics competition was an engaging learning experience for students in which they were cognitively challenged and having fun. Also, they saw a real purpose in what they were creating. When I asked the students about the process of creating the robots, one of the grade 12s said “creating a robot is about solving a problem and creating ways to make it better.”

Throughout the day I had conversations with students and educators about the robotics and coding involved in creating the robots but one in particular stood out...we wondered: where are the girls?