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Saturday, December 5, 2009
Honokaa, Waiakea, McKinley, Pearl Highlands robotics teams heading for World Championship
By News Release @ 2:20 PM :: 7259 Views :: Energy, Environment

HAWAI‘I ROBOTICS TEAMS ADVANCE TO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Second Annual Pan-Pacific VEX Robotics Championship concludes as students enthusiastically showcase STEM skills, problem solving, and critical thinking

HONOLULU - Nearly 1,000 middle and high school robotics students from Hawai‘i, California, Nevada and China put their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to the test for the past three days in a friendly, spirited competition that pitted robots against robots, and showcased students’ ingenuity, teamwork and ability to think analytically under pressure.

Throughout the second annual VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship, which started Thursday and wrapped up tonight at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, 132 qualifying matches took place between 86 student teams from 48 Hawai‘i, mainland and Chinese schools. Teams squared off in the game of “Clean Sweep.”  

 VEX2VEX1

The object of the “Clean Sweep” challenge is for two-team alliances to maneuver their robots to place as many small, medium and large balls as possible onto their opponent’s side of the field and by “locking up” small balls in triangular goals.

Twenty-four teams, including 18 from Hawai‘i, competed in the final championship rounds.  The eight three-team alliances that competed in the finals were:

    1.  Highlands Intermediate, McKinley High (Team E), Moanalua High (Team C)

    2.  Bellarmine College Preparatory (Teams A, B and C) - San Jose, CA

    3.  Kalaheo High, McKinley High (Team F), Moanalua High (Team A)

    4.  Honoka‘a High, McKinley High, Waiakea High

    5.  Campbell High, Hawai’i Baptist Academy, Campbell High (Team B)

    6.  Nanning Minzhu Primary School (Teams A) - Guangxi, China; Changping Middle School, Guangdong Province, China; High School Attached to Northeast Normal University - Jilin Province, China

    7.  Kalani High, McKinley High (Team D), Farrington High

    8.  Waialua High & Intermediate (Team A), Mililani High (Teams A and B)

In the end, the three-team alliance from Bellarmine College Preparatory took the top honors, finishing as the Pan-Pacific Champions.

The alliance of Honoka‘a High, McKinley High and Waiakea High earned second place in the Championship.

Four Hawai’i schools who competed at the Pan Pacific Championship qualified to advance to the VEX Robotics World Championship that will take place at the Dallas Convention Center and Arena April 22 - 24, 2010, including: Honokaa High School, Waiakea High School, McKinley High School, Pearl Highlands Intermediate.  At the World Championship, these winning teams will have the opportunity to challenge their top-ranked peers from other countries around the world, including teams from the Asian Robotics League, South America and Europe.

Other award-winning teams include:

  • McKinley High (Team E) - Robot Skills Champion and Programming Skills Champion

  • Bellarmine College Preparatory (Team A) - Robot Skills, second place

  • Lahainaluna High (Team M) - Programming Skills, second place

  • Nanning Minzhu Primary (Teams A and B) - Judges Award for potential

  • Hawai’i Baptist Academy - Think Award

  • Iolani School - Energy Award

  • Lahainaluna High - Judge’s Award

  • Honokaa High - Judges Award

  • Kalaheo High - Build Award

  • Kaua‘iBots - Create Award

  • Kaiser High and Niu Valley Middle - Sportsmanship Award

  • Bellarmine College Preparatory - Amaze Award

  • Pearl Highlands Intermediate - Excellence Award (Middle School)

  • McKinley High - Excellence Award (High School)

    Robotics education is a key component of the Lingle-Aiona Administration’s Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative, which seeks to transform Hawai‘i’s economy from one based on land development to one based on the innovative capacity of Hawai‘i’s residents, especially our youth. Robotics in a larger sense provides students with a strong educational foundation in science, technology, engineering and math, and offers them opportunities to solve problems, work as teams and think analytically - skills useful in any career.  

    VEX Robotics is one of six major programs in which Hawai‘i students can participate.  The six programs which fall under the umbrella of the Robotics Organizing Committee (ROC)includes VEX, FIRST Robotics, FIRST LEGO League, Botball, Underwater Remote Operating Vehicle (ROV), and Micro Robotics.

    Recognizing the importance of promoting robotics at an early age and sustaining students' interest in STEM education throughout their schooling, the six robotics programs which previously operated autonomously earlier this year joined together to form the Hawai‘i Robotics Organizing Committee (ROC) (www.robotics.hawaii.gov).  This is the first time all six of the robotics programs have coordinated their efforts to promote robotics education in elementary, middle and high schools statewide.  

    To learn more about student robotics in Hawai‘i as well as to view highlights, photos and videos of the Inaugural VEX Pan-Pacific Championship, visit www.hawaii.gov/gov or www.robotics.hawaii.gov.  

    Other upcoming robotics events:

    • Southern California VEX Robotics Championship, December 12, 2009, California State University at Northridge - Campbell High School will travel to compete against California teams.

    • Hawai’i FIRST LEGO League (FLL) State Championships, December 19, 2009, Neil S. Blaisdell Center, Honolulu - 48 Hawai’i elementary and middle school teams will compete for the title of FLL State Champions and earn a spot in the FIRST World Championship.

    • FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Kick-off Ceremony, January 9, 2010, McKinley High School Auditorium - Hawai’i FRC teams will gather for the announcement of this year’s competition.  Teams will compete at the FIRST in Hawai’i Regional Robotics Competition at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Stan Sheriff Center, March 25-27, 2010.

    ####

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

    Nearly 1,000 middle school and high school students from Hawai`i, the U.S. Mainland and China have descended upon the Hawai`i Convention Center for the 2nd annual VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship. The event is free and open to the public.

    Robotics Competition Underway at Hawai`i Convention Center

    Students from Radford High School participate in the second annual VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship.

    The competition kicked-off with welcome remarks from Lt. Governor James R. "Duke" Aiona, Jr.

    "More of our students than ever before are being equipped with STEM skills," he said. "Robotics offers students the opportunity to solve problems, work as teams and think critically – skills useful in any lifelong career."

    The first day of competition concluded with Kalani, Maryknoll and McKinley High Schools in the top three. View a complete list of rankings.

    Governor Lingle will lend her continued support to the students by attending the final day of competition tomorrow.

    For the past several months, students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, have been working together to build innovative robots designed to solve a set of difficult challenges presented in the game. During the competition, 90 student teams are participating in the game of "Clean Sweep."

    The object of the challenge is for two-team alliances to maneuver their robots to place as many balls as possible onto their opponent's side of the field and by "locking up" small balls in triangular goals.

    Nine teams from the Pan-Pacific VEX Robotics Championship will qualify for the VEX Robotics World Championship in April in Dallas, Texas, and 17 teams will qualify for the CREATE Foundation Championship of the Americas VEX tournament in March, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska.

    Robotics education is a key component of the Lingle-Aiona Administration's Hawai`i Innovation Initiative, which seeks to transform Hawai`i's economy from one based on land development to one based on the innovative capacity of Hawai`i's residents, especially our youth.

    Robotics provides students with a strong educational foundation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and offers them opportunities to solve problems, work as teams and think analytically – skills useful in any career.

    VEX Robotics is one of six major programs in which Hawai`i students can participate. The six programs include VEX, FIRST Robotics, FIRST LEGO League, Botball, Underwater Remote Operating Vehicle (ROV), and Micro Robotics.

    Recognizing the importance of promoting robotics at an early age and sustaining students' interest in STEM education throughout their schooling, the six robotics programs which previously operated autonomously joined together to form the Hawai‘i Robotics Organizing Committee.  Under the ROC, all six of the robotics programs coordinate their efforts to promote robotics education in elementary, middle and high schools statewide.

    As a result of this increased focus on robotics education, the number of robotics programs in Hawai`i's public, private and charter schools has increased dramatically in the past two years. Since January 2008, participation skyrocketed from 95 teams to 334 today – a 252% increase. The growth has been facilitated by the tremendous support from all sectors of the community, including government leaders, Hawai`i businesses; engineering and technology associations; the University of Hawai`i and community colleges statewide; the state's public, private and charter school organizations; NASA; the U.S. military; and private citizens.

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