The study of robotics using real world contexts is an innovative way help students prepare for a future workforce. Lynfield College uses robotics in curriculum courses and as an extra-curricular activity. Both offer a range of advantages and benefits to students that can complement each other or be undertaken individually.Robotics is part of the STEM curriculum which is based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning model based on real-world applications better explained by our students in this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI5aEtQeqFg
YEAR 9 ROBOTICS
The Y9 robotics curriculum course using Lego robots, introduces students to robotics, computational thinking, algorithms and programming.
The extra-curricula Robotics Group students in this group participate in skill-building exercises designing, building, programming and driving their robots through a series of challenges within a classroom competition field that is 2.4 metres square.
YEAR 10 ROBOTICS
The Year 10 robotics/electronics course is a curriculum class that studies mechanical mechanisms and basic electronics through to more complex machines and microprocessor and software control of their electronics/robotics projects. This is aligned with the NZ Curriculum levels 4 and 5 Technology and Digital Technology strands.
The extra-curricular Robotics Group at Year 10 use the VEX EDR platform to extend on the mechanics, structural and electronics concepts learned in class. Mixed teams participate in a novice Auckland regional competition during April and May. Then they start the new worldwide competition season in preparation for the New Zealand Nationals the following February.
Years 11, 12 and 13 are the steps up through the current curriculum Electronics classes focusing on robotic, and microprocessor controlled mechanisms and machines. The proposed new Digital Curriculum will offer more assessment opportunities for mechanisms and structures. These Mechatronic classes will align more as a career path to current tertiary education options.
Over the past few years, students in this course have designed and created small, simple prototype robots as part of their assessments using the VEX EDR platform for the creation of their robotics projects. Collaborating in small groups, students prototype VEX robots which need to be performance tested and evaluated on a 3.6m square VEX Competition field. This is not only for assessment purposes but also in preparation for competitions leading to Nationals, and an opportunity to qualify for the ultimate challenge of the VEX ‘Worlds’ competition.
The robotics group at the senior level is comprised of a range of students, not just those in the Electronics course. They collaborate in teams of five or six whose objective is to compete in the annual competition season, which introduces a new robot challenge each year. During competitions (scrimmages), the teams work in alliances with other teams. During the ranking rounds of a scrimmage, each of the teams are allocated a new alliance partner for each match. At the end of these rounds, the top eight ranked teams choose their alliance partner for the finals rounds. To do this affectively the teams need to be observant, curious and relate to others with good communication skills not only to choose their alliance partner, but also to be able to compete effectively on the field.
Each season VEX also run a worldwide series of online challenges. These include essays, group’s website, promotional and educational videos, photographic and electronic investigation. Most of the online challenges cover curriculum areas and students enjoy participating to display what they have learned in class. These challenges give students the opportunity to put their curriculum learning into real world contexts on an international level. These real-world contexts are key because real-world scientists and engineers use the skills and competencies to engage with and solve many of the problems and issues that our world faces today.
Nothing explains Robotics better than this excellent video from Director and Editor Raymond Feng, and cast and production crew of Daniel Mar, Matthew Tribble and Yuvraj Behal. This entry is one of the finalists of the 2018 VRC Promote Award Online Challenge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSejZWvT70s&feature=youtu.be
Lynfield College is internationally renowned for our achievements in the VEX robotics challenges both physical and online. In 2016 Lynfield College were the VEX Robotics Excellence Award winners. This is the highest award presented in the VEX competitions. The recipients must have a strong all round program of learning in all the areas that VEX compete in. They must be competitive across a range of these competition areas and that must include at least two online challenges. A school must also show that they are active in their community, by hosting scrimmages and taking robotics to junior schools in their community. For the last few of years we have been taking our teams with their robots to visit the local intermediate schools and have run a robotics day at some of the local contributing schools. We have also worked with two local Intermediate schools to help develop robotics courses for their students.
TERTIARY AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Many of tomorrow’s jobs have not yet been defined, partly due to the changing needs of our world but mostly due to the rapid advances in technology which are currently increasing exponentially. Studying robotics at secondary school level is setting a direction for preparing students to embrace a future of new, exciting and unknown career opportunities that will be available in technologies of the future.