Hero photograph
Photo by Katana Dunn

Vex Robotics National Competition 2019

Katana Dunn —

After months of preparation, nine Burnside High School students attended the Vex Robotics National competition in Auckland where they competed in the game Turning Point.

This was a great opportunity for Christchurch students to attend a world class event. Vex Robotics is one of the biggest robotics competitions in the world and the biggest in New Zealand, especially for secondary school students. Immersing students in STEM education is the main goal of Vex Robotics as we need more innovators, thinkers and problem solvers in the world.

This season started in April 2018 and ends in April 2019 at the World Championship in Kentucky USA where the new game is launched for the 2018/9 season. A sport is defined as an activity that is competitive, physical and organised. This is exactly what these competitions are like.  It gives an environment for students to develop their skills and understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in an exciting, fun and purposeful environment. 

Unfortunately, we still have a way to go in Christchurch as we had to start again after the earthquakes to build the student numbers. The shortage of Technology teachers in New Zealand also influences which schools and students are able to be exposed to this stimulating environment for students interested in mechanics, programming, teamwork, managing, film making and driving robots. All these are specific skills that make a successful team. This year was Christchurch's biggest entry to the National Competition with three teams from BHS, one from St Andrew's College and one from Christchurch Boys High School.

Our best team was the BHS A team consisting of Aditi, Alisha, Aarya and Felix who finished in the top third. They made it through to the final rounds but were eliminated by the team who lost in the finals by a really close margin.

Turning Point

Every year a new game is launched and students have to develop skills and strategies to compete in the game.  This year's game is called Turning Point.More than 11,000 teams from 45 countries compete in over 900 tournaments. The NZ Nationals had 60 teams competing for various prices. Top teams go to the Worlds in the United States.  This game consist of low and high flags that needs to be toggled (high flags can only be toggled by balls), caps need to be turned and robots can park on a centre platform. All to score points in teams.