Southern River College students excel in national robotics competition

Southern River College students excel in national robotics competition

SOUTHERN River College’s emphasis on Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) is starting to bear the fruits of its labour.

The school’s focus on STEM subjects has seen them create two specialised robotics programs designed to extend their students’ capabilities.

In addition to a robotics club established in 2012, the school sent over a team of 13 to compete in the Australian version of the FIRST Robotics Competition in March this year.

The group, made up of years 10 and 11 students, finished 5th overall, the highest placed team from Western Australia.

Deputy principal Mike Erith said the school was increasingly emphasising the importance of developing skills in the STEM field for the future.

“It’s been a priority focus in the school, especially about the major push with changing needs for the 21st century and changing situation occurring in the workplace, and the different needs for business and industry for different skillets going forward,” he said.

Mr Erith said he was delighted with the success of the robotics team in Sydney, especially given the short time-frame they had to work with.

On December 1, we made the decision to go and from then we put in a very tight time schedule, because the actual competition is held in March and the competition game theme is released on January 2,” Mr Erith said.

“We got a team of 10 who from January 2 through the school holidays, came in and did a series of workshops to design and start building.

“We had a six-week build to get the robot together and then the students flew out in mid-March, the actual competition was March 16, so you can see it was a very tight time schedule.”

Teacher Sarah Wickham said she was thrilled to see how well the students worked together on the project and applied their skills in a high-pressure situation.

“It was great to see them develop and work under quite a lot of pressure, we left with a working robot but it wasn’t perfect,” she said.

“There were a few functions we still needed to do when we got to Sydney and the kids responded really well.”

She said she could see an increase in interest in STEM-related projects among other students already.

“Some of the teachers showed the robot to the kids in class and they are interested in joining the project next year.”

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