The maiden edition of the MakersPlace First Lego League (FLL) Robotics Scrimmage Competition was held in Accra recently. It featured six teams of four students, who competed with each other following the all FIRST Lego League competition rules.
The students showcased their creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, and indeed they did not disappoint. The FLL Robotics Scrimmage Competition was organized in partnership with the SiSe Puede Foundation, Edulearn Ghana, and Coderina EdTech Foundation, the first operational partner for the sub-region with sponsorship from Arm(E³)NGAGE.
The robotics program was designed to encourage students to develop STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through hands-on robotics projects. The competition was open to students from different schools who registered to be part of the afterschool program. Children between the ages of 9 to 16 were provided a platform to explore and develop their skills in robotics, programming, and design.
These students have been working on their projects for several months prior to joining the competition. They built their robots using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit, and programmed them to perform various tasks. The competition was judged based on a set of criteria, including robot performance, design, and teamwork.
The atmosphere at the competition was power-driven as the teams worked hard to get their robots to complete the super powered missions assigned to them. The robots had to navigate obstacles, pick up and move objects, and perform other complex tasks.
The students worked tirelessly, testing and tweaking their robots until they were satisfied with their performance. Parents and mentors also present to witness the competition were proud and amazed at the level of skill and creativity displayed by these students. Some of the parents who spoke said they were impressed with the inventiveness and critical thinking skills that the students had displayed throughout the competition. It was clear that the students had learned a lot from the competition and were better equipped for the future.
At the end of the competition, the raw videos were sent to volunteer judges from the Degrees of Freedom Robotics team in the USA who would watch the robot games and innovative program project presentations videos to provide feedback. It was a close competition, but one team emerged as the overall winner.
The winning team had to demonstrate exceptional teamwork, design, and robot performance. Madam Baptista S. Gebu, one of the judges congratulated the organizers of this all important event and encouraged parents and educators to commit to exposing the future generation to the future of work conversation, a situation which supports hands-on acquisition of soft skills not readily demonstrated in main stream educational centers. She was excited; the kids demonstrated problem-solving, team work and collaboration skills among others.
The MakersPlace Robotics Scrimmage Competition is in line with the changing trends of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the founder, Mr. Douglas Ayitey in his final remarks, said the competition was a “testament to the importance of hands-on learning and the power of STEM education in preparing our children for the future”. He stressed the need for more initiatives like this that will expose students to STEM and encourage them to develop skills that will be valuable in the future.