OVER 700 primary school children from 33 schools across the Mid-West Region competed in the regional finals of the VEX IQ Primary Schools Robotics Challenge, which forms part of an ambitious project between Mary Immaculate College (MIC) and Dell Technologies.
Taking place at Dell Technologies in Raheen this Tuesday, the competition saw primary school children (aged 9-12) from all over the Mid-West Region work in teams to design, build and programme a robot. Robots from each school then battle it out in eight competition areas to secure a spot in the national final.
Now in its third year, the Vex Robotics Challenge aims to bring educational robotics to schools throughout Limerick, Cork, Tipperary and Waterford.
Following the regional finals, five schools will now progress to the national finals of the competition. Three schools from Limerick city have secured a spot in the finals, namely Lisnagry National School, Presentation Primary, and Scoil Íde, with Scoil Iósaf, Newscastle West, also progressing to the finals along with Kilruane National School, in Nenagh, Tipperary.
Reacting to their regional final win, Séan Flannelly, 5th class teacher at Lisnagry National School said, "It was a wonderful project all round. Every child in the class had a part to play in it with roles in PR, drawing and designing as well as driving the robot! We are so delighted to get the opportunity to go to the national finals in Cork."
Schools also had the option of working on a STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) project whereby the students designed and developed a 4-minute video presentation on the topic of ‘The Role of Robotics in Science especially in Data Collection’. Their projects explored real world applications of robotics, including robotics in medicine, sports, transport, farming, and space, as well as the use of robotics for data collection, including gathering data from flight paths, activity trackers, hand scanners in hospitals, and air quality sensors.
From September to January, each of the 33 schools were mentored and supported by MIC and Dell Technologies on an on-going basis through a variety of means that included professional development workshops, mentoring, and the facilitation of events.
The Vex Robotics project is a national programme where MIC are working with Cork Institute of Technology, IT Tralee, Letterkenny IT, Dundalk IT and DELL Technologies in Cork, Limerick and Dublin. The project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, Dell, Mary Immaculate College, the Irish American Partnership and the Professional Development Services for Teachers.
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