Division News

Division News

1st Annual KTC - NSD61 Robotics Tournament

Posted on April 2

“Teamwork, collaboration, programming, building, success and fun”!

A few words echoed by students, parents, staff and community members who participated in the 1st Annual Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council (KTC) – Northland School Division No. 61 (NSD61) Robotics Tournament on March 28, 2015.

Seven teams from Peace River School Division (Grimshaw Junior Senior High School and Red Earth Creek School), Little Red River Cree Nation (John D’Or Prairie School) and Northland School Division (Grouard Northland School, Peerless Lake School, Kateri School, Hillview School) travelled to Red Earth Creek’s Back Lakes Sports Arena to put their robotics knowledge to the test. For this competition, students utilized Lego equipment to build and program robots. Kindergarten students used Lego WeDo and grade 3 to 12 students used Lego Mindstorms. The tournament format featured three groups; Group 1 Kindergarten-Grade 2, Group 2 Grade 3-6, Group 3 Grade 7-12.

The first group competition challenged youngsters to build and program example robots from Lego WeDo kits. The second and third groups battled each other in two events; a line follower race and a sumo match. The line follower race is a timed event and challenges students to aim for a fast time while programing their robots to stay on the oval or elliptical course. The objective of the sumo match is for the robots to search for each other and then push their opponent out of the designated arena. 

Place  Grade  Event  School 
1st place Kindergarten - Grade 2  Lego WeDo Builder  Grouard Northland School
1st place Grades 3-6 Junior Oval and Ellipse  Red Earth Creek School
2nd place Grades 3-6 Junior Oval and Ellipse  Peerless Lake School
3rd place Grades 3-6 Junior Oval and Ellipse  Oval: Kateri School
 Ellipse: Hillview School 
1st place Grades 7-12 Senior Oval and Ellipse  Red Earth Creek School
2nd place Grades 7-12 Senior Oval and Ellipse  Grimshaw Junior/Senior High School
3rd place Grades 7-12 Senior Oval and Ellipse  John D'Or Prairie School 
1st place Grades 3-6 Junior Sumo Challenge  Kateri School 
2nd place Grades 3-6 Junior Sumo Challenge  Grouard Northland School 
3rd place Grades 3-6 Junior Sumo Challenge  Peerless Lake School 
1st place Grades 7-12 Senior Sumo Challenge  Grimshaw Junior/Senior High School
2nd place Grades 7-12 Senior Sumo Challenge  John D'Or Prairie School 
3rd place Grades 7-12 Senior Sumo Challenge  Red Earth Creek School 

Paul Neethling, who organized the tournament and educates robotics to KTC and Northland schools says it was a large effort to put on this event but it was worth it.

“Without a doubt you could see the student engagement was very high,” said Neethling. “The tournament lasted roughly five hours and they were glued to all activities.”

Red Earth Creek School performed well in the tournament with two first places finishes. Darren George, Principal, says students were eager to expand their robotics knowledge in a competitive environment.

“The kids enjoyed themselves and enjoyed working together,” said George. “Not only did they work together, they collaborated with other students by sharing programs and ideas. It is always nice to win but the largest benefit is the social interaction and the learning that goes on.”

Kateri School demonstrated some of their Lego robotics experience finishing first place in the junior sumo challenge. Last year, the school from Trout Lake placed third overall in a Lego robotics tournament in Fort McMurray.

Kaylee Orr, who was a part of the 11 person team that went to the Fort McMurray tournament says she had fun once again in Red Earth!

“It was fun to help make sure the programming was right for the robots,” said Orr.

Damian Okemow and Keisha Thunder both explained that the tournament was fun and that Kateri School performed well because of teamwork. Neethling was pleased to see so much excitement and engagement in one location. He says the next step is get more schools on board with robotics.

“Quite a few schools have purchased Lego robotics equipment because of this tournament but we need to make sure more schools get some,” said Neethling. We need to provide more training for teachers. If we get more training sessions for teachers, they will feel more comfortable which will grow this type of activity.”

Congratulations to all students who participated in the Robotics tournament!

A special thanks goes to parents, community members, teachers, Back Lakes Recreational Centre staff, KTC administration team, Northland School Division staff, Peace River School Division staff, Sherrie Buchner and Sherrie’s daughter who helped judge and tabulate results. Special thanks also goes to Grouard Northland School Principal Jackie Sander, who helped cook lunch for everyone and No Frills Peace River for supplying food for the tournament.

Neethling adds that next year’s tournament promises to reach more students and to be even more exciting.