In­no­va­tive learn­ing

St. Fran­cis ro­bot­ics stu­dents to build Lego ver­sion of ocean floor

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE -

Stu­dents at St. Fran­cis school will de­sign and build Lego ro­bots and have them com­plete a se­ries of tasks in a Lego ver­sion of the ocean floor. They also plan to con­struct an un­der­wa­ter re­motely op­er­ated ve­hi­cle (ROV).

The Har­bour Grace school’s ro­bot­ics stu­dents are us­ing a $20,000 pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment grant to en­hance their award-win­ning ro­bot­ics pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to a gov­ern­ment news re­lease.

Over 100 stu­dents are in­volved in the school’s ro­bot­ics pro­gram.

A seven-time pro­vin­cial Lego ro­bot­ics cham­pion, the school has rep­re­sented the prov­ince at the In­ter­na­tional Lego Ro­bot­ics Competition in Ge­or­gia for the last seven years.

Their lat­est pro­ject will also in­clude the op­er­a­tion of a video di­ary that will cap­ture the com­plete de­sign process and broad­cast it via the In­ter­net to other schools for in­struc­tion pur­poses and feed­back.

Stu­dents will use the un­der­wa­ter ROV in a competition in late March,” said Nor­man Lit­tle­john, the school’s tech­nol­ogy ed­u­ca­tion teacher.

“As they work through the de­sign process, they will also de­velop a re­source for other ju­nior high schools who may be in­ter­ested in de­vel­op­ing an un­der­wa­ter pro­gram,” Lit­tle­john added.

“ The ini­tia­tive will help stu­dents de­velop prob­lem solv­ing and crit­i­cal skills as they com­plete their tasks,” the teacher said.

Sug­gest­ing it is shap­ing up to be, “an ex­cit­ing pro­ject,” Lit­tle­john con­cluded, “it will also give them the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop skills in video pro­duc­tion, pre­sen­ta­tion, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

Com­mend­ing the staff and stu­dents for their “con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to ex­cel­lence in this field, Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy noted the ro­bot­ics team “ has been suc­cess­ful on the pro­vin­cial, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional stages.”

Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Su­san Sullivan said, “this ex­pe­ri­ence will also bode well for stu­dents as they grow older and po­ten­tially seek work at lo­cal com­pa­nies... heav­ily in­volved with us­ing and im­prov­ing the over­all ef­fec­tive­ness of ROVs in marine en­vi­ron­ments.”

The in­vest­ment was funded un­der a fall 2010 call for pro­pos­als seek­ing in­no­va­tive learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences for young peo­ple.

St. Fran­cis was among the close to 30 pro­po­nents that have re­ceived sup­port to­talling more than $400,000 through the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s call for pro­pos­als.

Not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, schools in the Kinder­garten to Grade 12 sys­tem, post-sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, youth or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­dus­try or­ga­ni­za­tions, and re­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment boards are all el­i­gi­ble for sup­port un­der the pro­gram.

The call for pro­pos­als was made by the in­no­va­tion strat­egy, In­no­va­tion New­found­land and Labrador: A Blue­print for Pros­per­ity, which iden­ti­fied sup­port for youth as an es­sen­tial el­e­ment in cre­at­ing a cul­ture of in­no­va­tion in the prov­ince.

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