Robo-winners: Daniel Roodzant and Jannessa Zappone are the winners of this year’s Robocup Rescue Challenge.

Robo-winners: Daniel Roodzant and Jannessa Zappone are the winners of this year’s Robocup Rescue Challenge.

King’s students score with rescue robot

Grade 9 students Daniel Roodzant and Jenessa Zappone took first place in the Rescue Challenge category

It’s King’s Christian to the rescue!

Grade 9 students Daniel Roodzant and Jenessa Zappone took first place in the Rescue Challenge category of the eighth annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior competition held Nov. 29 at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College.

Daniel and Jenessa won the challenge with a land rover they built in their robots and rocketry class.

“It didn’t take too long (to build) but the programming did,” said Daniel of the project.

The 14-year-old says that although he has entered and won at local competitions, this is his first win at a big competition.

“The creations were exceptional,” says Nadir Ould-Khessal, event organizer and chair of the Electronic Engineering department at Okanagan College.

Each winning team received a TELUS Award, comprised of an electronics kit that can be used to build other fun projects while at the same time teaching the students more about electronics and robotics.

Daniel becomes animated when describing the robots and rocketry course that begins with robotics programming until mid-November. Next up is building bridges and “stuff with weights,” followed in the new year by spaghetti bridge building.

Daniel’s enthusiasm is matched, and more, by teacher Jason Luff, who also teaches math.

“I love it, but I wouldn’t call it teaching, I call it guiding,” says Luff. He adds one of the joys of the class is that it teaches the students logic without them realizing they are doing math.

“So, they’re not afraid,” Luff says. “They end up thinking without really thinking. I have them feeling the logic without the pain of math, in a fun environment.”