RoboCup Junior: A Showcase of Innovation and Achievement

In an exciting showcase of technological skill and creative ingenuity, six teams from Santa Maria College recently attended the RoboCup Junior competition hosted at All Saints College. RoboCup Junior is a project-oriented STEM initiative that fosters teamwork, coding, and imaginative thinking among young minds.

Our students entered two main competitions, the OnStage Performance and the Rescue Line. The OnStage Performance challenges teams of students to design, build, and program robots to perform. This performance can be in the form of a dance in time with the beat of the music or a theatrical presentation. Teams are scored on their performance and their technical interview, where they talk through their coding, their problems and challenges. 

In the Rescue Line, robots compete by following 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 that will challenge the most intrepid programmer. After negotiating the randomly selected path, the robot arrives at a green-coloured area which indicates a chemical spill. While the clock is still ticking, the robot must find ‘the victim’ before pushing them out of the chemical spill to safety.

Santa Maria had three teams enter each of the competitions with students from Years 6 – 9. The girls have been attending Roboclub every week since the start of Term 1 in preparation, and a lot of work was also done at home, making backdrops and props. Of the six teams, four were invited back to the finals on Sunday, two in each of the categories. Our Year 8 Performance team, called The Kraken, and our Year 9 Performance team, called Bench Dwellers, took away the silver, coming second in their respective categories. With over 40 teams competing, this was a spectacular result, and we are very proud of the hard work, creativity and grit the girls have displayed.

Here’s what some of the girls had to say about the experience.

I enjoy building the robots. It allows me to spend time thinking and planning and coming up with lots of cool ideas that I get to create. The main challenge we faced was not having the proper hard floor as in the competition to code on, so my dad and I went and bought a floor mat to code on. I loved doing it in primary school, so when I got to Santa Maria, I wanted to continue doing it here. Isabel Henwood, Year 8

We entered the novice OnStage Performance. We built two ships, a Kraken and a motion-sensor background with waves and another ship. Both the large ships had the same code and interacted well because of it, and the Kraken was coded to fight them. We love the creativity of building robots and working with our friends.  You can build want you want. It’s like Minecraft in real life. The whole event is a challenge, the robots are not reliable, and the coding needs adjusting regularly, but we love it. The Kraken Team (Stephanie Kerr, Isabel Henwood, Heidi Godwin, Sarah Perry, Lola Cook, Year 8)

We loved the trial and error of the coding and different mat challenges and learning from our mistakes. Leila Smith, Year 6

We worked on it during school and tried different scenarios for the rescue mat to test our coding. We saved our coding that worked and then adjusted it to see how the new programming affected the robot. Elisa Zeng, Year 6

The journey to RoboCup is marked by determination, creativity, and spirit. We celebrate the remarkable dedication, innovation, and tenacity displayed by the girls.

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