Feilding's Manchester Street School has a very special reason to celebrate this month, after walking away with an award from the international VEX Robotics Challenge.
The Year 5/6 MSS robotics team, known as the Odderbots, has become somewhat famous – this is the third time they've won an award from the challenge in as many years.
This year the Odderbots received the Judges Award for exemplary effort and perseverance and principal Glen Richardson couldn't be prouder.
“A huge amount of effort goes into the competition every year from the students, teachers and the community. And what's more incredible is that the Odderbots membership turns over every year so that we are always bringing younger students into the club with the same impressive results.
What is the VEX Robotics Challenge? Hundreds of schools around the world compete to build robots from VEX Robotics components. The goal is to complete a set of complex tasks to score as many points as possible within a one-minute round.
“Feilding students have a long track record of outstanding success in Robotics,” says Manchester Street School Year 5/6 teacher and robotics coordinator, Geoffrey Ward.
“In typical Kiwi fashion, our students think laterally to solve challenges, build prototypes, test and retest until they have a working model. All on their own time and all with their own ideas. It's a privilege to be associated with the team.
Technology firm New Era IT was one of the companies supporting the Odderbots team. The company has even donated two Acer Switch Tablet PCs and an XYZ 3D printer to the school so it can prepare for the 2020 VEX title defence.
Regional account manager Richard Hall says that science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) and digital technologies are important for New Zealand's growth.
“We work with primary schools up and down New Zealand and MSS clearly stands out as an example of what young people can do when given the right opportunities,” says Hall.
Today's students are tech savvy and quick to pick up new opportunities. “There are virtually no limits,” adds Ward.
“We see STEM education as a passport to future success that is inclusive, non-judgemental and inspirational. And it's not just for the boys. Girls make up about half of the Robotics group at any given time.
“Plus we get Year 3 students showing interest in joining as places open up. With the reward of a trip to America on the offing, we are having no problem what-so-ever in building momentum as we move forward.