Free robotic challenge perfect holiday entertainment

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23 Apr 2014

A free workshop at CPIT during the school holidays will challenge students to build a robot that can tackle dangerous environmental tasks using their maths, physics and computing skills.

The interactive workshop, called the Ecobot Challenge, is for Year 11 and 12 students and will take place at CPIT Madras Street campus from Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 April.

The three-day event will have a focus on environmental science, including microbiology, bioremediation and the dangers of high phosphorus levels and the damage they do to the environment.

With guidance, students will use a robotic kit to make an Ecobot that will be able carry soil samples to be tested for toxic emissions.

At the end of the event, teams will pitch their Ecobot against the others and see which comes out as the winner. The team with the top Ecobot will be crowned the 2014 Ecobot Challenge winners.

CPIT recently teamed up with The New Zealand Robotics Charitable Trust, known as the Kiwibots, to help encourage in science and technology in schools by bringing the VEX robotics programme to New Zealand.

During the Ecobot Challenge students will use VEX robotics kits.

CPIT Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) co-ordinator Miranda Satterthwaite says there is a growing need to enhance STEM instruction in classrooms and beyond.

"There is a call for integrated learning programs that allow teachers to engage students meaningfully in STEM," she says.

"With that in mind, we have developed an environmental course using the VEX IQ Curriculum as a companion to the VEX IQ robotic platform. The curriculum focuses on a contemporary environmental issue of soil remediation, while encouraging students to have fun building robots."

She hopes many students will sign up for the programme during the school holidays.

"It's a great activity for students to become involved with during the holidays, especially if they have an interest in STEM."

CPIT's other April holiday programme, Sport Smart, has already been filled. The free workshop is for year 13 students interested in the science behind peak sports performance.

However, there are still places available for the Ecobot bootcamp but booking is essential. For more information or to make a booking email liaison@cpit.ac.nz