September 18, 2017
Robot challenge hooks tamariki on science
Twelve teams from primary schools across the Eastern Bay of Plenty will compete in a new regional robotics competition in Whakatane this week.
The RoboPa Regional Scrimmage two-day challenge has been designed by RoboPa, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi's technology hub, to inspire passion for science, technology and learning among tamariki.
Project coordinator Thomas Mitai says the competition has been developed to engage young Maori in learning by doing and help them test their skills in programming and engineering.
Ministry of Education data indicates that Maori students in rural locations and areas of low socio-economic status are under-achieving in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.
Much of the programme is taught in te reo Maori, an acknowledgement that many RoboPa learners from locations such as Opotiki, Whakatane, Kawerau, Edgecumbe, Ruatoki, Poroporo and Paroa identify firstly as Maori.
Two mainstream schools and four kura kaupapa have registered for the inaugural event, with a further 18 indicating early interest in participating next year.
The first day will focus on skills challenges and workshops, with the competition on day two.
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