RoboCup is a project-orientated educational competition designed to introduce students to robotics. It encompasses not just STEM skills but also encourages creativity, collaboration and problem-solving. The RoboCup competition started in Japan in 1997 and 2000 in Australia.
This year, 13 students from Years 6 – 8 entered the Western Australian State RoboCup competition at Curtin University.
The girls started preparing for the event during Terms 1 and 2. Some students spent many hours over the Term 2 holidays programming, painting and building their robots.
This year we had two teams enter the Onstage category. For this event, students design, build and program EV3 Lego robots to perform. Competitors are encouraged to be creative, including making sets, producing characters for their robots and choreographing their own dance to do alongside their robots. There are extra points for incorporating sensors into your build and having the robots interact with each other, which requires precision programming.
Charlotte Yeo and Charlie McCoy, in Year 6, programmed two robots to do a Hunger Games-inspired performance. Their robots danced in synchronisation and then had a battle. Shanae Maher, Heidi Godwin, Millie Anderson, Rachael Wu and Emily Bleakley, in Years 7 & 8, programmed three robots to re-enact the third challenge from the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They had a Sphinx, Harry and Voldemort, all moving within a maze built from wood, which needed to be set up on stage before their performance.
We also had three teams enter the Rescue Line category. In this event, robots must follow a winding line on a series of tiles to a designated rescue area. On the way, the robot could encounter obstacles, bridges, and shortcut opportunities. Once the robot arrives at the green rescue area simulating a chemical spill, the robot needs to find a trapped victim, a silver can, and push them to safety out of the chemical spill. We had two Year 6 teams entering this category for the first time, Alyssa Collins and Makenzie Brown, and Caitlin O’Neill, who amazingly entered on her own.
A Year 7 team consisting of Adayna Fozdar, Summer Nguyen and Sophie McCarthy entered the secondary division. The rescue teams had issues with programming and their builds on the day, but they persevered in doing four runs on four different courses. The girls were competing against students up to Year 10, so we were very proud when the Year 7 team placed fourth to secure a place in the final the following day.
After an overnight rush to re-program and improve the build, the teams attempted more challenging courses in the finals. They did a fantastic job, showing real perseverance and problem solving under pressure.
All five teams came away wanting to enter again next year, and some have already started planning their entries.
Sophie McCarthy tells us a bit about her experience. “What I enjoyed most about the experience of competing in RoboCup was collaborating and thinking critically to solve problems, whether they be in coding or elsewhere. I was challenged by having to come up with and design solutions on the spot. Having to think creatively under pressure was something I wasn’t used to, but I think I have learned how to do this more quickly and am proud of my progress. She added, “What I love about robotics is how it can spark creativity and critical thinking, whether through problem-solving, designing, collaborating with your team, or just trying a new and innovative solution that might work. I would recommend robotics to other students if they enjoy thinking creatively and working in a team.”
Congratulations to everyone who entered. We can’t wait to hear how you go next year.