Last Friday, 10 students from year’s 5 & 6 represented the school for the very first time at the RoboCup Jr. The event is an annual, global, challenge where teams of designers, builders and programmers create and code robots to perform challenges against the clock.
The year 5 team, the CPS Sparks, participated in the Line Rescue – Primary competition. For this exciting event, Sawyer, Amber, Prachi and Katana’s robot had to use it’s sensors to follow a line along a path, avoid obstacles and locate and ‘rescue’ a stranded survivor – in the form of an aluminium can. With each passing round, the difficulty level increased – with the course posing more complex and difficult obstacles. Although it was the team’s very first time participating in this format, they demonstrated fantastic skill, teamwork and problem-solving to navigate through most of the presented courses. At the end of the first day of competition, the Sparks were sitting mid-table, and while they were not invited back for the finals on Saturday – they have taken away a lot of experience and can’t wait to push forward at next year’s event, now with a clear picture of what is expected. Brilliant effort Sparks!
The year 6 team were dropped right into the deep end, participating in the Open Maze Rescue! That meant that our students – Aran, Chloe, Charlie, Dan, Isabelle, and Michaela, were faced with the prospect of competing against students ranging from Year 8 to 12! After recovering from the initial shock, the team gelled and got straight to work. The name of the game for the Maze Rescue was to program their robot – “Evie”, to navigate through a walled maze, avoid obstacles, detect survivors and drop off care packages within the vicinity – all in the days work of a good rescue robot! When the team ran Evie through her paces through the first maze, and actually scored some points – our students realised we were right in with a shot. By the end of the first-day competition, the ‘Smarties’ were coming 3rd! The only teams above them were Australian champions from 2019. Due to the success of day 1, we were invited back on Saturday to complete the finals rounds. Although the difficulty in mazes rose, the team adapted and changed their robot and code to rise to the occasion. By the end of the competition, the CPS Smarties placed 5th out of 8 teams.
Much to our surprise, the Year 6 students were awarded medals for showing fantastic growth over the days of the competition, and for the fact they were so competitive against much older, experienced competitors.
It was an absolute pleasure to guide both teams through this wonderful experience, and I am so proud of the effort that each student gave, and growth that they demonstrated. We all learned so much from our first RoboCup Jr experience, and both students and teachers already can’t wait until the 2021 challenge!