CHEK Upside: Robotics competition takes over Save On Foods Memorial Centre


For the first time in two years, one of B.C.’s biggest robotics competitions is back.

FIRST Robotics is an international organization dedicated to providing youth with hands-on STEM education through building robots and competing with them at various events.

“The basic idea was to get kids interested in STEM and STEAM disciplines by engaging them in a sport-like activity,” says First Robotics B.C. executive director Ian Koscielski.

“This [event] is part of that worldwide organization with 650,000 students around the world.”

This weekend marks the return of the Canadian Pacific Regional event to the Save On Foods Memorial Centre, with teams of high school students from around Canada and even Turkey taking part.

Each team only had two months to construct a robot, with their creations going head to head in a series of challenges to determine an overall winner.

“The first aspect is a shooting part, so robots can take up to two balls in their hold at one point and they’ll shoot it at either a low or a high target,” says competitor Stephen Montgomery.

“There’s also the climbing portion [where] you have four different rungs, four points if you go to the top.”

The competition helps students to not only practice teamwork but also helps elevate their technical knowledge and problem-solving.

“It makes it more exciting and plus you have people that you’re working with, so you learn more,” says FIRST Robotics alumni Vaughn Scott.

“You’re working together to try and compete, where the end goal is not to try and get an A, it’s not to hit a certain mark, the end goal is to win.”

The finals of the Canadian Pacific Regionals take place on Mar. 5. Spectators are not allowed, but there will be a live stream.

For more information on the competition and other FIRST Robotics programs visit their website.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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