RobocupJunior is an event targeted at primary, intermediate and secondary school students in New Zealand. As a robotics competition it involves children in, and develops their interest in, Technology, Engineering, Electronics and Programming. These are exactly the skills New Zealand needs for its future and we need to ensure we are producing enough young people skilled in, and interested in, these areas to meet the demands of the next decades. Research has shown that Robocup Junior “has positive impacts on participating students’ learning of STEM as well as necessary skills to be successful, especially in STEM fields including collaboration and communication skills, computational thinking, and engineering skills,” (Eguchi, 2016). Students participating in RobocupJunior also engage in the achievement objectives of the new Digital Technologies curriculum. In addition, RobocupJunior has been very successful in involving girls in robotics and developing the interest of girls in technology, engineering and programming, areas in which female participants are underrepresented. Approximately 40% of participants are females and the participation rate of girls continues to rise.
The Mission Statement of Robocup Junior New Zealand is:
“Robocup Junior New Zealand aims to encourage school students to take an active interest in science, technology and the performing arts. It aims to develop practical and intellectual problem-solving skills and teamwork in the context of a competition where sportsmanship and participation are more important than winning. It also aims to make students aware of potential employment opportunities in high tech industries which are crucial to the ongoing development of the New Zealand economy.”
The competition consists of Primary and Secondary (Senior) school levels across categories of Theatre, Rescue and Soccer. Theatre involves students in creating a theatrical performance which include robots and props in which robots perform autonomously. This section has a focus on creativity, and being open-ended it can be simple or complex depending on the ability of the students. The Rescue competition involves student programming a robot to rescue a victim from a chemical spill, dealing with a range of obstacles on the way. Soccer involves two robots (a striker and a goalie) who play soccer, using an IR Light emitting ball, against a team of another two robots.
In Christchurch, there are up to 30 schools involved in the competition, with over 50 teams and involvement of over 140 students. The students work towards these competitions in small teams over a period of 6- 8 months. The standard of entries in New Zealand is high and when they have attended the Australian National competition they have consistently been prize winners.
When: 19 August
Where: Burnside HS
How to Enter: Fill out this form by the end of 4 August