Andrew Du and Spencer Hunter
Special to the News
Reynolds secondary school has officially started their own robotics team with the intentions of competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition as well as foster the interest of STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, within the school and throughout the Saanich community.
The robotics team was created by a group of enthusiastic students who are passionate in the fields of STEM and who also want to use their skills and knowledge to make a lasting impact on their community.
“It’s going to be a lot of work,” said Kas Karim, a teacher at Reynolds and one of the team’s mentors. “I think it’s a pretty good opportunity for kids to get involved in an exciting project.”
Calling themselves the Reynolds Reybots, the team plans to schedule events with middle schools in Saanich to educate and inspire the next generation of scientists, as well as enter the FIRST Robotics Competition (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) which kicks off in January. The competition challenges teams of high school students across North America to design and build their own robot to play a difficult task-orientated game against other like-minded teams. The competition is run by FIRST, an organization whose vision is “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators.”
On March 6, for the second year in a row, FIRST Robotics will hold its three-day Canadian Pacific Regional competition at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Center in Victoria.
“[FIRST] provides a pretty unique opportunity for kids to get involved in [robotics],” Karim said, adding the level of support given by the FIRST organization is far more than what is possible in a curriculum-based course.
Opportunities like this allow students to engage with innovative inventions like 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and automated machines, all of which have profoundly changed the workplace. Careers in STEM are growing at a rate of 4.6 per cent while the job market as a whole is only growing at 1.8 per cent. Despite this, less than 50 per cent of students in Canada choose to enroll in STEM-related courses.
“The government needs to support this kind of education. Clearly, we are not being supported at the level that we need to be,” Karim said. Organizations like FIRST can provide the resources and support to give students the opportunities to pursue their interest in STEM. For the Reynolds Reybots, it gives them a chance to put their knowledge to work and take their learning beyond the classroom—and fight other robots.
- Student Voice article by Reynolds students Andrew Du and Spencer Hunter.