Information technologies now have an influence in almost all spheres of our lives. Modern education should therefore offer students a strong foundation of knowledge in programming, 3D modelling and engineering, all of which could prepare students to become specialists in the IT industry.
The introduction of robotics to the curriculum plays a key role in this process. Students can now design and make 3D models and construct robots by themselves. We’ve also found that participating in robotics competitions helps to make their school work cool and interesting for our students.
In March our team representing the ORT-Simcha School in Kiev was happy to be a part of the Robotraffic International competition organized by Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology. It was the first competition at this level that I had participated in as a coach.
The Robotraffic competition is an annual event that is now one of the highlights of the ORT calendar each year.
This year more than 100 students competed from ORT schools. We had many teams from Russia and Ukraine, from Argentina and Mexico, and from World ORT Kadima Mada network and affiliated schools in Israel.
The aim of the competition is to teach students about road safety and safe driving through an international robotics competition. To provide better education in traffic laws and the physical limitations of vehicles and drivers, and to create ways to make the road “smarter” to help reduce the unacceptably high traffic accident rates in Israel and elsewhere.
The Robotraffic competition challenges participating teams to solve a whole range of tasks. It is also preceded by difficult preparations including tasks in robotics, 3D modeling, Maker-DIY, searching for new ideas and projects presentations.
I guess a solid team is the most important thing in any competition. Students should respect each other and the participants of other teams. To achieve this I conducted a few teambuilding events with my students with the main slogan: “We are the Team! We’ll win or fail together.”
Our team is called Monsters and we have little monsters as talismans. Let me introduce ourselves:
- Boria: Borys Ievgeniev
- Margo: Margaryta Bershova
- Big Brother: Illia Otrokhov
- Houston: Coach Anatolii Vasyliuk
(When my students need help, they say: “Houston, we have a problem!”)
I‘d like to share with you a lot of how we prepared for the competition: how we created our vehicle, what we learned and how we selected injector system for 3D modeling. How we had to study traffic rules and conduct rehearsals of our presentations in English. Nevertheless, I will not do this here, but I’ll tell you a few interesting facts about us:
- Just three months of preparations: It was 12 intensive weeks of education, brainstorming, rehearsals, presentations, continued support and psychological preparation of our students.
- From scratch. Our school is just at the beginning of its journey; technologies and robotics lessons arrived in the school’s curriculum not long ago. That’s why our students first had to familiarize themselves with the programs needed for competitions during their preparations. I also had to master CAD SolidWorks from scratch. I won’t hide the fact that it was difficult to master all the necessary materials and to train students in such a short time. But it is precisely because of this that we did not allow ourselves to relax and focused all our efforts on winning.
- Eve of the competition. The final version of the 3D model of the injector was only completed on the eve of the competition. We were not afraid to make edits at the last moment and it played a decisive role in our success!
- An interesting and unusual approach to preparing our project-idea about road safety. Students explored the problem of public transport stops directly on the city roads: we were riding to the places with problematic stops and meeting with specialists in the field of roads service and public transport drivers.
The days spent in preparation and the competition at the Technion were amazing! Many teams from different countries all met with each other, connected, helped each other, shared experiences and shared successes and defeats.
My “Monsters” competed in five categories. When one of the team members was presenting a part of the team’s work, other students stayed near and supported them.
Then, finally we tasted victory! First place in the 3D CAD category! It is not possible to describe all my feelings: excitement, joy and pride for my students!
We returned home very satisfied, inspired and a little tired. Now my “Monsters” and I have a better idea of what Robotraffic involves. We understand well what we need to work on in the future and we firmly hold the advantages in our hands.
We have already developed a new strategy for preparing for the next competition. So now we can begin to get ready for Robotraffic 2020!
If you ask me about advice for other Robotraffic coaches, I can give you five important pieces of advice:
- Bring students closer together with common goals and interests. Make brainstorms, group exercises, experiments and test different solutions together.
- Connect with the other teams and learn from their experiences.
- Organize meetings with road service specialists, CAD specialists, and robotics specialists.
- Conduct rehearsals and always save intermediate results in photos or videos – so that you can come back to them if necessary.
- Always support your students especially if something doesn’t work as expected, help them to find other solutions.
Believe in your victory!
Director of RTC ORT at the Edu. Complex ORT-Simcha School, Kiev,
Technology and Robotics teacher,
Coach of the “Monsters” team from ORT-Simcha School, Kiev
For further information on the Robotraffic competition please contact Natasha Shaw (Natasha.firstname.lastname@example.org) at World ORT