PRSD hosts Robotics Tournament
Teamwork, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and fun will be the theme for Friday (February 24, 2017) when 29 student teams from eight Peace region communities join for Peace River School Division's (PRSD) 2017 Robotics Tournament. The robotics tournament is being held at EE Oliver Elementary School (EEO) and hosted by the EEO grade 5 and 6 leadership group, “Daniel’s Dabbers”.
During Robotics classes, option classes, after school clubs or flexible learning time, students work together to build robots from LEGO WeDo or LEGO Mindstorms kits and then program them to operate on their own by continually refining the design of the robot and the coding until they are ready to compete. PRSD’s Learning Technology Coach Sherrie Buchner says that students are learning from continuously analyzing and tweaking their designs and coding to make their robots faster, stronger, more efficient, and ‘smarter’ than their competitors’ robots.
"Students need to consider strategies such as building for speed, strength or durability and program their robots to use different types of sensors and motors in a variety of ways” says Buchner.
During the tournament, each student team comprised of two to five members will compete in two or three events. For grades one to three, students will compete in a trophy building event and the “Mr. Roboto event, grade four to eight will compete in a line following race, a Clean Sweep Race and a Sumo Challenge. Grades nine to twelve will compete in a Clean Sweep Race and also compete in a 19 team Sumo Challenge Tournament with the grades four to eight teams.
Also at the tournament, students from Peace River High School and TA Norris Middle School will operate information booths that feature different brands of robotic products available to all PRSD schools through the division’s Instructional Materials Center. Students will also have the opportunity to try their robots in the Mystery Maze event where students maneuver their robot through a maze of unknown sizes and dimensions.
“Robotics has become very popular in our schools and we are pleased with the level of engagement and deep learning it provides” says PRSD Board Chair Darren Kuester. “It provides students with hands-on learning that engages deep thinking, problem solving, creativity and they learn to work as a team – which all are very important life skills.”
Robotics also allows students to explore and possibly uncover interests that may translate to careers after high school. As Liam Doll, EEO student says “I’m glad I brought in the form for the Robotics tournament, I want to be a mechanic.” Cameron Maguire, EEO student stated, “I am a builder. Our robot looks good because we have tinkered with it a lot.”
The tournament is made possible through the sponsorship of PRSD’s Technology Services Department and the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) Greater Peace Local 13. PRSD’s Technology Services Department is providing all technology based equipment and support and the ATA Local donated prizes for participants. PRSD thanks students, the Daniel’s Dabbers, volunteers, staff, EEO for hosting the event and a special thank you to Sherrie Buchner, PRSD Technology Learning Coach for leading the coordination of the event.
Teams from PRSD and Holy Family Catholic Regional Division in the communities of Peace River, Manning, Worlsey, Cleardale, Dixonville, Valleyview and Fairview are registered to attend and family, friends and community are welcome to attend.