Gladstone students ready for robot wars
A HEALTHY rivalry is brewing ahead of the inaugural Gladstone Robotics Competition to be held at Clinton State School on Friday.
Seventy-four students from nine Gladstone region primary schools will compete in the 'sumo' style robotics challenge which promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning.
Two teams, each with individually designed, constructed and autonomously programmed Lego robots, will go head-to-head in an oval-shaped ring aiming to knock each other out of the arena.
Points are awarded for each knock-out and when a robot pushes a weighted obstacle outside the 'hazardous' black lines that mark the arena boundary.
Participating students have spent several weeks designing and coding their robots.
Clinton State School teacher/librarian Tracey Dunnett said both students and teachers have benefited from the robot construction phase.
"We surveyed the teachers before we did student training to see how confident they were using technology,” she said.
"At the end of the STEM project we'll see whether they feel more confident to go back and upskill their teachers.
"I've learnt a lot from these kids.”
With technology of the 21st century advancing at a rapid rate, Ms Dunnett says STEM learning sets students up to excel in the jobs of the future.
"It's the way of the future and it's been recognised that jobs are going to change in the future,” she said.
"Even with my grade one students I do a whole unit on teaching them how technology has changed over time.
"You hold up a (vinyl) record and they're just amazed and it's quite funny to see their reactions.
"I showed a student a pick-up dial telephone and he wanted to know where the phone numbers were stored inside it, so I had to teach him about a phone book which he didn't know.
"As an adult I've seen technology change that quick so you can imagine how quick technology is going to change in their lifetime.
"The kids really need these skills in being creative and being problem solvers to be able to not necessary design the technology that's going to be used, but just to be able to use it.”
The Gladstone Robotics Competition starts from 9.30am on Friday, November 17 at the Clinton State School hall.
The event is open to the public with no entry fee.