Kalamalka Secondary’s Robotics Club wion the innovation award at the Provincial Robotics Championships Feb. 22. (Vernon School District photo)

Okanagan students earn innovation award at B.C. robotics challenge

Kalamalka Secondary students awarded in Victoria

A trio of Vernon students programmed their way to the top in Victoria recently.

Three grade 12 students, from Kalamalka Secondary, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a robotics competition on Feb. 22. Students in the Robotics Club at Kal have been building, programming, and testing their robot since September and took home the Innovation Award at the FTC.

More than 30 teams participated in a Game that requires them to design, build, test, and program autonomous and driver-operated robots that perform a series of tasks.

The playing field includes game pieces that are set up on a foam-mat surface, surrounded by a metal and Lexan Field frame. The students work to overcome obstacles and meet challenges, while learning from, and interacting with their peers and adult mentors.

With support from SD22’s District Tech Team, the Kal Robotics Club has been around for three years and takes place during breaks and the lunch hour.

“It’s great to see the work and dedication the students have put into this Challenge,” said teacher sponsor Mrs. Challen. “They do this on their own time and I think they should be really proud of themselves.”

Students working with robotics develop a greater appreciation of science and technology and how they might use that knowledge to impact the world around them in a positive manner. They also cultivate life skills such as:

• planning, brainstorming, and creative problem-solving;

• research and technical skills;

• collaboration and teamwork; and

• appreciation of differences and respect for the ideas and contributions of others.

The Kal students all agree that robotics is something they’ve been interested since they were quite young.

“I’ve always loved building, testing, programming, then testing again. It’s trial and error; doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result,” said one of the students.

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