Nearly 1,000 middle school and high school students from Hawaii, the mainland and China arrive Wednesday at the Hawaii Convention Center for the 2nd annual VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship.
The event is free and open to the public.
The team-based robotics competition will put students’ engineering and high-tech skills to the test in three action-packed days of competition with robots created from the VEX Robotics Design System.
For the last several months, students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, have been working together to build innovative robots designed to solve a set of difficult challenges presented in the game.
During the competition, 90 student teams from Hawaii, the mainland and China schools will square off in the game of “Clean Sweep.”
The object of the “Clean Sweep” challenge is for two-team alliances to maneuver their robots to place as many balls as possible onto their opponent’s side of the field and by “locking up” small balls in triangular goals.
This competition will qualify top teams to compete in two additional international tournaments.
Nine teams from the Pan-Pacific VEX Robotics Championship will qualify for the VEX Robotics World Championship in April in Dallas, and 17 teams will qualify for the CREATE Foundation Championship of the Americas VEX tournament in March in Omaha, Neb.
Robotics education is a key component of the Lingle-Aiona Administration’s Hawaii Innovation Initiative, which seeks to transform Hawaii’s economy from one based on land development to one based on the innovative capacity of Hawaii’s residents, especially our youth.
Robotics provides students with a strong educational foundation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and offers them opportunities to solve problems, work as teams and think analytically – skills useful in any career.
“The University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Engineering has been excited to see the tremendous enthusiasm for robotics and STEM education over the last decade,” said Dr. Song Choi, assistant dean, College of Engineering.
VEX Robotics is one of six major programs in which Hawaii students can participate. The programs include VEX, FIRST Robotics, FIRST LEGO League, Botball, Underwater Remote Operating Vehicle (ROV), and Micro Robotics.
Recognizing the importance of promoting robotics at an early age and sustaining students’ interest in STEM education throughout their schooling, the six robotics programs which previously operated autonomously joined together to form the Hawaii Robotics Organizing Committee (ROC).
Under the ROC, all six of the robotics programs coordinate their efforts to promote robotics education in elementary, middle and high schools statewide.
As a result of this increased focus on robotics education, the number of robotics programs in Hawaii’s public, private and charter schools has increased dramatically in the last two years.
Since January 2008, participation skyrocketed from 95 teams to 334 today – a 252 percent increase.
The growth has been facilitated by the tremendous support from all sectors of the community, including the Lingle-Aiona Administration; Hawaii businesses; engineering and technology associations; the University of Hawaii and community colleges statewide; the state’s public, private and charter school organizations; NASA; the U.S. military; and private citizens.
1. Aiea Intermediate School
2. Dole Middle School
3. Hawaii Baptist Academy
4. Hawaii Technology Academy
5. Highlands Intermediate School
6. Iolani School
7. James Campbell High School
8. Kailua Intermediate
9. Kalaheo High School
10. Kalani High school
11. Kamehameha Schools High School Science Dept.
12. Kasier HS and Niu Valley MS
13. Leilehua High School
14. Maryknoll High School
15. McKinley High School
16. Mid-Pacific Institute
17. Mililani High School
18. Moanalua High School
19. Nanakuli High & Intermediate
20. Pearl City High School
21. Radford High School
22. St. Andrew’s Priory School
23. Stevenson Middle School
24. W.R. Farrington High School
25. Wahiawa Middle School
26. Waialua High & Intermediate School
27. Waipahu High School
28. Washington Middle School
29. Wheeler Middle School
30. Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science
31. Hilo High School
32. Honokaa High School
33. Kapaau Intermediate School
34. Keaau High School
35. Kohala High School
36. Konawaena High School
37. Waiakea Intermediate School
38. West Hawaii Explorations Academy
39. King Kekaulike High School
40. Lahainaluna High School
41. Bellarmine College Prep
42. Chaminade College Prep
43. Hyde Park Middle School
44. Xuzhou Youth and Children’s Palace
45. High School Attached To Northeast Normal University
46. Nanning Minzhu Primary School
47. Changping Middle School in Dongguang City
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