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Schools line up for national robotics challenge

Schools in the Bay of Plenty region are gearing up for the National Robotics Scrimmage.

A robotics completion for primary schools that began in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, has become a national event.

Twenty-three primary schools will compete next month in four regional challenges to qualify for the National Robotics Scrimmage in Whakatane in October.

The two day events challenge teams to build a robot to complete complex tasks. The teams then test and re-test the robot against each other.

The robotics challenge has been designed by Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi technology hub Robopa to enage and encourage young students in teamwork, leadership, communication and STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.

Robopa project coordinator Thomas Mitai says the competition has been developed to actively engage young Maori in learning and help them improve and test their skills in programing and engineering.

“In the age of technology our aspiration is to nurture an interest in technology and teach robotics while highlighting the importance of working together, sharing thoughts and ideas, and holding on to our language.

“Ministry of Education data indicates that Maori students in rural locations and areas of low socio-economic status are under-achieving in the STEM subjects. Robotics is a great educational tool for experiential learning, and competitive robotics brings a whole lot of opportunities to engage with our rangatahi in a collaborative, fun and challenging environment. It’s about learning by doing.”

Teams come from both mainstream and kura kaupapa schools.

Last year, 12 teams from primary schools across the Eastern Bay of Plenty competed in the inaugural regional robotics competition in Whakatane.

Next week, representatives from six schools in the Mataatua region will battle it out and Tairawhiti (East Coast), Tamaki (Auckland), and Taitokerua (Norhtland) schools will compete later in the month for a place in the two-day national scrimmage.

Regional events:

Mātaatua: September 3-4 in Whakatāne.

Tairāwhiti: September 6-7 in Ōpōtiki.

Tāmaki: September 17-18 in Auckland.

Taitokerau: September 20-21 in Broadwood, North Hokianga.

National Scrimmage:

October 31-November 1 in Whakatāne.

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