Robotics competition boosts children’s morale, critical thinking
Over 600 teams from more than 100 schools participated in the 2018 National Robotics Competition held recently at Tagaytay International Convention Center.
Elementary and high school students built their robots and battled it out in 12 games/categories that included Sumobot (mobile robots pushed opponents out of a specified ring), Line Tracing (autonomous robots were required to track a course in the shortest period of time), Fire Fighting (autonomous robots must extinguish fire in different positions in the arena), and Innovative Robot (robot designed and built based on a given theme).
Top winners in this year’s NRC will compete in the 2018 World Robot Games, which will be held on October here in the country. Last year, the Philippines finished third in the World Robot Games in Singapore.
The chance to travel and experience an international competition is a major motivation for the young builders.
Asked why he joined NRC, 10-year-old Joshua Portollano of West Rembo Elementary School said, “Gusto ko pong matuto at makapunta sa ibang bansa (I want to learn and go abroad).” The boy took part in the Junior Line Tracing event and was among eight students that comprised the West Rembo delegation.
Coach Gerry Sabagon notes exposure abroad may pique the kids’ interest but what gets them hooked on robotics is the joy of creation. “Morale booster sa mga bata. Nagkakaroon sila ng self-confidence (It’s a morale booster for them. They gain self-confidence),” he says.
Mom Annabelle Go observed that robotics enhanced her son John Andrew’s critical thinking and persistence. Eleven-year old John Andrew participated in the Mission Challenge event and was one of 25 students from Jubilee Christian Academy of Quezon City team.
“At first he was hesitant,” Go says of her son. “But when he got the hang of it, he learned how to handle stress. He learned to adjust.”
Children who take up robotics also acquire responsibility, organization, and time management skills, says Jeric Alarcon, coach of the team from Ednas School in San Carlos, Pangasinan.
“Nagiging responsible sila. Masinop sa gamit. Natutunan din nilang mag-prioritize ng gawain (They become responsible. They become organized. And they learn how to prioritize tasks),” says the coach.
These young Filipino robotics athletes will compete against representatives from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“If there is one thing that I’ve discovered about young people, it’s that they like challenges,” declares Melvin Matulac, NRC organizer and Pinoy Robot Games founder.
The NRC is organized by Pinoy Robot Games, an organization composed of robotics advocates, and Data Science and Technology Corporation, an educational technology solutions provider.
Visit www.pinoyrobotgames.org and Pinoy Robot Games on Facebook for more information.