CLEVER kids who are hoping to fly the flag for Rotherham at “the Olympics of robotics” in the US next month need to raise £20,000 by the end of April to get them across the Atlantic.
A team of six children from Wath Central Primary School qualified for the world finals of the VEX IQ championship in Louisville, Kentucky, by winning enough points at a national final in Telford.
Nu-Alliance will be one of only two primary school teams from the UK competing at the world finals and will be hoping that their creation will triumph among the hundreds of other machines from around the globe.
But the school needs to raise enough cash to fund flights and accommodation in time for the three-day competition, which begins on April 28.
To qualify for the world finals, teams had to design a robot for a competition called Next Level, in which their creation had to work with another team’s to see how many objects they could stack in a scoring zone.
They also had to submit a notebook documenting their design process and face an interview by expert judges.
Pupils had to combine everything they learned at school with some new specialised skills to reach the world finals.
Nu-Alliance impressed at the national finals in Telford so much they came back with the Energy Award for showing high levels of enthusiasm, energy, and a passion for robotics and demonstrating teamwork and effective communication.
And having already bagged two trophies — the Energy Award in Telford and the Excellence Award at the Derbyshire and Yorkshire regional finals — they will be hoping to come out on top of around 600 schools from around the world.
Learning mentor Dawn Stump, who leads the school’s robotics club, said: “It’s amazing for the school that they have qualified for America and it showcases the ability of these children — they are amazing kids.
“The dedication and commitment they have shown, sacrificing their breaktimes and lunchtimes — it’s good fun but it’s also hard work.
“It’s inspiring for future generations coming through because a lot of these children have younger siblings.”
Mrs Stump said she believed every school should compete in the VEX IQ competition because of the benefits it brought to their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) learning.
“I think they should have this in every school because it prepares them for lots of things they will learn,” she said.
“And it showcases the school itself in terms of what we are willing to try and do for these kids.”
Nu-Alliance, who have been supported in their efforts by the school’s IT support, Niels Puttemans, are now sacrificing every break and lunchtime to make final tweaks to their robot in preparation for the world final.
Team member Chloe Theaker (10) said: “It’s crazy that we are going to America.
“We thought everyone was joking when they told us.
“We are now boxing in the wheels to make the robot sturdier.”
Chloe and her team-mates said they would also be adding some arms to the robot and making some other technical changes to improve it.
Visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/robotics to make a donation.
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