We are the champions - Junior RoboCup 2013 (Finland)

I have just returned from a fantastic three days at Finland's Junior RoboCup 2013 competition. I have been on placement at Saaren Koulu, Rovaniemi for the last six weeks, the grade six class have been working on this project and competition for many months. Robotics are used in their lessons however many of the class also stay for two or three hours on a Wednesday after school for technology club. The children work as individuals, pairs or teams to carry out all stages of the robotic process - from the design, to the programming and to building the physical robots.

Over the 3 day competition the children competed in many rounds and battles in order to reach finals and semi finals. My school competed in all competitions and managed to win 2 gold trophies for first place. Two grade six girls created a football robot to play 1v1 and after a long two days of rounds they reached the final. The final was incredibly close with the referee blowing his whistle and the girls requiring a golden goal in order to win. Luckily they won and have come home with the large gold trophy! 

The dance competition was incredibly fierce and competitive, in this round the students create robots which then dance to the music along with the students in the background. Personally I found this competition the most exciting, it was very visual and it was nice that the students who had created the robots were able to 'perform' with them. The competition is scored on the interviews that the students have prior to the dance where they discuss how and why they made the robots. They are also scored on the performance as a whole, if the robots stay in the marked area, how the robots move and if the team have worked together. Each performance tended to have a theme for example an older group of students created a performance to the Titanic, so the robots, their costumes, the props and music all fitted in to meet the theme. The students do not have to dance with the robots however this tends to complete the movement of the robots and if everything is in sync and works well together then extra points are rewarded.

A large group from my school had worked as a dance team and named themselves the 'Street Team' to fit in with their performance to 'Thrift Shop - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis'. I could see that they had worked very well as a team and this shone through the performance and the interviews they had given prior to the dance. The students took on different roles, with some based on the design and programming and others choreographing the dance, they had even made extra props and an outfit for the robots. The group came in first place and the judges also commented that they had also seen the amount of teamwork that had gone in to the performance.  The group seemed very shocked by their win however it was thoroughly deserved and the effort that the team had put in was fantastic to see. They were all incredibly motivated and this was easy to see by any on-looker. 

Here are some more pictures from the event:

I was also lucky enough to interview one of the organisers and I will blog this in another post. 


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