RoboCup triumph: A team from Shire Christian places first in NSW robotics competition for second year in a row

23 June 2023

RoboCup triumph: A team from Shire Christian places first in NSW robotics competition for second year in a row

A team of talented Year 6 students from Shire Christian School has emerged victorious in the highly competitive SPIKE Prime Challenge robotics competition, marking the second consecutive year that a Shire Christian team has claimed the top spot, an exceptional achievement considering the fierce competition from over 50 schools from across the state.

The Year 6 team who took out the honours last year, now in Year 7, also placed a close second, with one point separating the two teams.

Shire Christian entered four teams into the competition, three from Year 6 and one from Year 7.

Under the expert guidance of their mentor, Mrs Leonie Hampson, the Shire Christian teams exhibited remarkable skills in design, building, coding, and the production of their video and folio.

Mrs Hampson expressed immense pride in her students, recognising their dedication and the countless hours they invested to ensure success.

"The amount of time they gave up after school, before school, and during lunch times was fantastic," she exclaimed.

“Their ability to problem-solve, troubleshoot, and create designs that aligned with the competition's objectives was truly awe-inspiring." 

Mrs Hampson, an enrichment teacher and Spike Robotics Mentor at Shire Christian School, emphasized the significance of participating in the Spike Robotics Competition.

"We love the Spike Robotics Competition because it promotes problem solving, advanced design process and teamwork," she explained.

The competition serves as a platform for students to engage in the design, building, and coding of robots, enhancing their critical thinking and communication skills. Robotics is an integral part of the school's enrichment program, in the earlier years with Dash and Blue-Bots and in Year 5 and 6 with LEGO Spike, coding, building, and programming, and then extending into secondary school. 

The dedication of the Shire Christian teams was also complemented by the unwavering support of their parents, who ensured their children's attendance by dropping them off early and picking them up late during the competition period. 

One of the winning team members, Nathan, provided insights into the intricate process of constructing their winning creation. Inspired by the notion of courage, the team decided to create a robotic creature resembling a flying pig named "Wilbird."

"We made a flying pig because we had to make a creature, and we took inspiration from saying “when pigs fly," Nathan shared.

The team meticulously crafted the base of the robot and gradually added the head, legs, and wings. Leveraging robotics, the wings were programmed to simulate flight, while the legs propelled the pig forward. 

Programming the robot proved to be a challenging task that required trial and error to achieve precise movements. Nathan described the process of using an app and block coding to program their creation.

The judges praised the team's work, commending the engaging story behind the robot and their clever use of pink bricks to represent the pig. Their creation served a noble purpose: to bring joy to children by visiting hospitals.

When the winners were announced, Nathan and his team experienced a mix of happiness and surprise. "I didn't think we were going to win," Nathan admitted. 

However, their exceptional teamwork, with each member assigned specific responsibilities, ultimately led them to victory. Sophia contributed to the building process and set design, Matthew focused on creating the portfolio, and Nathan assumed the programming role. Their collaboration and perseverance paid off, and the team emerged triumphant.

Similarly, the Shire Christian Year 7 team, achieved an impressive second-place finish despite the challenges of transitioning to high school. Their creation, a robotic cow named "Bessie," aligned perfectly with the competition's requirement of designing a creature with a purpose.

Bessie was designed to plant seeds, embodying the theme of ‘creatures’ in a unique way.

Reflecting on their consecutive successes, team member Annabel shared her surprise and excitement at the team's accomplishment. "We weren't actually going to enter this year [because of the busyness of high school], but we just kept going. And then we were second-place winners!" she exclaimed. 

The team expressed their enthusiasm for future competitions, eagerly anticipating the OnStage competition, which involves working with multiple robots.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Annabel.

“Last year we made a new friend, Ben, who was only new to the school that year and now he’s a good friend. 

“We’ve all learnt a lot together. I never thought I’d be able to build something and code something like that.”

Shire Christian School has established itself as a powerhouse in robotics competitions, consistently demonstrating remarkable talent, determination, and innovation. With the guidance of dedicated mentors like Mrs Hampson and a passion for robotics, the school continues to inspire its students to reach new heights in STEM education. 

The Shire Christian team's remarkable achievements serve as a testament to the transformative power of robotics in shaping young minds and fostering a love for technology and problem-solving.

Check out the winning video here

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