Bennett Moes, 10, demonstrates the Lego robotic arm he created at an NIC Robotics Camp (file courtesy of Susan Quinn) Bennett Moes, 10, demonstrates the Lego robotic arm he created at an NIC Robotics Camp (file courtesy of Susan Quinn)

Two Kelowna schools qualify for robotics competition

Students will have eight weeks to construct their own robot before competition begins next March in Victoria

Students at two Kelowna schools are about to have the opportunity of a lifetime to construct their dream robots on the national stage.

Ecole Kelowna Secondary (EKS) and Mount Boucherie Secondary (MBS) students have officially qualified to compete in a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) next year from March 4 to 7 in Victoria.

READ MORE: More than 300 high school students from B.C., Alta., and Washington took part in the VEX Robotics competition

The qualification means the students now have until January to learn how to raise money, design, build and program their robots with the help of Aptixx Robotics mentors — a UBCO not-for-profit organization dedicated to teaching robotic basics to Kelowna youth.

In January, the students will then be given eight weeks to build their robots before they’re put to the test at the Canadian Pacific Regional robotics competition in March.

Tobias Blaskovits, Central Okanagan public school STEM consultant, said all the of the students on the teams will help build the robots.

“Both teams here are just in their infancy. This is the first year they’ve started and all the students are new to this,” said Blaskovits.

“Each team is made up of 10 to 25 students and has sub-departments like engineering, design, coding, programming and community outreach teams. After the departments are created, the students can then sign up for one to help their team.”

Blaskovits said two local teachers have also stepped up to help in the competition.

“Rutland Secondary school teacher Peter Halim and MBS school teacher Mike Boulanger will be helping to lead and supervise the teams in the competition.”

Depending on the popularity, Blaskovits said there could be a regional robotics competition in Kelowna soon. The competition would likely be for younger students and consist of lego blocks to help them build their robots.

FRC is a charity established in 2001 to help inspire Canadian high school and elementary school students to pursue careers in the science, technology and engineering fields. The competition that the Kelowna students are participating in is one of four types of robotics competitions held by the charity throughout the country.

To learn more about the event, you can visit the charity’s website.


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