Qatari students take on robots!

robots-competition-qatar-2014

Elementary and middle school students from schools across Qatar recently tested their robotics know-how. The mock robot competition was held at the College of the North Atlantic Qatar (CNA-Q). Because science is a good thing!

Besides the social aspects of the event, the aim was to prepare the students for the National Robot Olympiad of Qatar, to be held October 24-25 of this year. The contest doesn’t stop there – finalists will advance to the World Robot Olympiad, which will be taking place this year in Sochi, Russia.

For months, students and teachers alike have been learning about robotics in a school initiative to boost STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, called Go Robot. Teachers were offered up to 30 hours of instruction in robotics programming and utilized that knowledge to train their students. Some 300 Qatari teachers have been trained, and about 200 student teams are now registered to compete in the national competition.

The young competitors surely have some impressive tricks up their sleeve at this stage of the game. They have reached proficiency in building and designing robots, and solving programming challenges. But true mastery will win them a ticket to the international competition.

At the National Robot Olympiad, students will undertake such tasks as “launching a spaceship, collecting space debris, fixing a solar panel array on a space station, and setting up a Mars colony.” They can even enter their robots into a football competition! More details about the specific contests can be found here, on the official website of the competition.

One information technology teacher from the Osama Bin Zaid school in Qatar remarked that he has noticed a greater interest in the sciences and mathematics ever since robotics was first introduced at his school. The growing participation of students in the national and worldwide robot olympiads year after year suggests that his students are not alone, as the contests and STEM education complement one another.

The countdown to Qatar’s National Robot Olympiad has begun! Let’s wish the students luck (Good luck!) at their techie craft. Who knows – some of these students may design the robots that most everyone will be entrusting their household chores to, in a few decades…

Image of students at the practice National Robot Olympiad from Gulf News.

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