‘What do you mean? We’ve never gone to RoboCup before!’ Iesha exclaimed excitedly.
‘I know, but this is so fun going to Perth in the dark with you all, my best friends, making memories, I will miss this and you all next year!’ Isabel replied.
‘Yeah, I know what you mean, I will miss all of the fun we get up to as well….’
‘And Mrs Ball!’ Iesha added before Hannah could finish talking!
Last Friday the 9th of August in the pitch dark of 6am, Senior students and parents converged on the Dumbleyung Primary School carpark to meet for the early departure to Curtin University Stadium where the Western Australian Robotics Olympics: RoboCup 2019 was going to take place. The excitement and enthusiasm of a few years of working toward this very day was now finally here and the kids were pumped to finally be going off to compete and be a part of something bigger. It marked the culmination of months of tinkering, building and testing since 2017 when our wonderful P&C bought our Senior Class a suite of 8 Lego EV3 robots to assist us with hands on learning to apply the Digital Technologies Curriculum and coding for our students here at Dumbleyung Primary School. We were now off to compete and experience RoboCup 2019 where ample opportunity is provided for our kids to compete against other students from metro and regional schools at Curtin Stadium to put their robots to the test in an authentic competition.
In 2019, over 600 students from 183 teams across 60 competing schools took place in this year’s RoboCup in the categories of On Stage Performance (dance and theatrical), Soccer and Rescue. These three challenges are designed to provide a realistic link between what students learn in the classroom and the real-world application of coding and robotics. With the adoption of automation in many industries, particularly agriculture and mining, robotics is an innovation that we want our students at Dumbleyung to be competent in, particularly as they prepare for high school and think about career pathways for the future.
Of the 183 teams, 7 were from regional schools - South West region (Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, Bunbury Senior High School, Georgiana Molloy Anglican School), the Peel region (Pinjarra Primary School), the Pilbara (Marble Bar Primary School, Wickham Primary School- who are sponsored by Rio Tinto to attend) and the Wheatbelt (Dumbleyung Primary School).
Dumbleyung students entered the Onstage Dance Novice category where they had to design a dance that would accompany music and stay within a 2m by 2m square. The students worked in a team of 5, three Year 6 students and two Year 5 students and were supported by the Year 3 / 4 students who were their pit crew assisting with making props and costumes for their robots. The students chose a theme and narrated a dance around ‘boot scooting’ which was a nod to our country roots! Three robots were programmed to dance and the students deployed the use of colour sensors to contain their robots within the designated area which is all scored and judged. A technical interview was also scored as the students were quizzed by Scitech officials to ensure the kids could explain their learning and innovations they used.
The crowded audience and ban on adult mentor interactions with the team was certainly felt, however the pressure of stepping out of our comfort zone (the classroom) onto a large arena was certainly a learnable experience. Important skills such as communication, team work, and problem solving and working under pressure were all put into play. The routine didn’t pan out exactly as planned, but none the less the students completed the task. Considering the competition that was there our Dumbleyung team did incredibly well. We have learnt a lot and now know what the competition is about, we will refine our skills and work toward having another attempt next year.
I’d like to thank our teachers at Dumbleyung Primary School who all plan and implement many hands on digital technologies lessons across our school and ensure that students are equipped with the skills of tomorrow. Dumbleyung Primary School has always prided itself on being innovative and technologically savvy, and with an amazingly supportive P&C who have enabled this to continue with their EV3 gift, know that together we will continue to inspire and grow 21st Digital Skills within our kids.
Article by Dumbleyung Primary School Principal, Melanie Ball