A robo-mop, a robotic guide dog and a self-driving forklift were just some of the ingenious machines created by ACG Sunderland students for the 2022 Inspired Builds Global Robotics Competition.
Now in its second year, the event gives seven to thirteen-year-olds from Inspired schools around the world the chance to showcase their talents in innovative coding, creative design and machine technology. This year, students from ACG Sunderland performed incredibly well, receiving awards in three different age groups.
Year 6 student Freddy Fan teamed up with classmates Ryan Kueh, Garry Gao and Yuli Tang to design an award-winning robotic mop.
"We wanted to create something useful that could help people in their daily lives, and the idea of creating a mop to help with household chores caught our eye," says Freddy.
"We worked as a group to build the mop with LEGO Education Spike, and it was fun and easy to make. Then we connected the programming hub with our iPad. We all took turns and tried our best to code the robot. The front motors were working well at first but were later moving backwards. We took it apart and built it again, but we realised it wasn't a problem with the motor; it was an error in the code. Finally, we got the right combination and completed the code with Mrs Hasan's help. It was challenging but very engaging. We loved it!"
Computer Science Curriculum Leader Mehwish Hasan couldn't be prouder and says the Inspired Builds Global Robotics Competition provides an exciting platform for students to hone their coding and robotics skills while developing valuable soft skills at the same time.
"Competitions make science and education more enjoyable," says Mehwish. "Students learn how to take complex ideas and break them down into simpler parts, collaborate, find and fix bugs, be persistent and persevere. Healthy competition motivates children to strive for excellence rather than settling for average results. Students who compete endeavour to go above and beyond. These skills prepare children for a variety of future circumstances.
"Being an engineer, I was confident I could help my students work to a competitive standard in this international competition, but the imagination they showed really impressed me. It was awesome to see them collaborate, share ideas and create amazing designs."
Other winning ACG Sunderland teams included Andy Chen, Laura Tang, Johnny Zhao, Elizabeth Shingles and Yannis Li, who earned an award in the 7 to 8-year-old category for their robotic guide dog. And Steven Wang, Ryan Yao and Danny Liang took out a coveted spot in the 9 to 10-year-old division for their self-driving forklift.
Says Steven, "Our forklift saves workers time by helping load and unload pallets. We used LEGO Education Spike to build it and coded it on Word Block. The entire experience was excellent."
Hosted by Saint Louis School Caviglia, Milan, this year's competition drew entries from 22 countries across five continents. Judging criteria included intelligent design, general appeal, innovation and quality of programming.
"I am incredibly proud of my students' accomplishments," says Mehwish. "I enjoyed watching them collaborate and think outside of the box, and it was even more thrilling to see them happy as their ideas got off the ground. I want to offer them all a huge congratulations."
Mehwish encourages all Primary-aged students to try coding and robotics and believes it's a great way to enable real-world problem solving – a crucial 21st-century skill that has even been shown to prevent poor mental health during adolescence.
"The coding and robotics courses are designed to help students solve issues, think critically, collaborate, be creative, and enhance computational thinking. It's also a great method to develop vital skills like cooperation, problem-solving, and project planning. Primary school pupils can definitely benefit from robotics."
An Inspired education
ACG Sunderland is proud to be an Inspired school. Inspired is a leading global premium schools group operating across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Currently educating over 55,000 students, its international network of 70 outstanding schools delivers proven best practice to ensure world-class learning.