Three Kuwaiti high schools take part in BOTBALL
Teams of students from 3 local Kuwaiti high schools put their robots to the test in the Kuwait BOTBALL competition on Thursday 3rd May.The students have been busy designing, building and programming their Lego© Mindstorm robots for the past seven weeks in preparation for the competition that is hosted by Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. The teams competed against each other on a playing field the size of a ping-pong table in a high energy, non-destructive tournament.
Al Ru'ya captured the highest overall score, compiled from the tournament rounds as well as the pre-competition documentation of their work British School of Kuwait took 2nd place.
“The main factor that got us the first prize is working as a team, cooperation and hard work,” said Mohammed Salah AL Rifae, student, AL Ru'ya Bilingual School.
Participating schools were: British School of Kuwait, Kuwait National English School and Al Ru'ya Bilingual School.
“BOTBALL is a great activity for teenagers. They learn a lot about how to be technically creative, and they learn to use math, physics and programming in a useful way,” says Brett Browning, Ph.D., systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon. “Carnegie Mellon is so excited to see how much BOTBALL has grown in the region. It’s now spread across three countries and our goal is to take it to the entire Middle East.” Browning along with Justin Carlson, Teaching Assistant at Carnegie Mellon Qatar judged the competition, which was held at the Hawthorm Hotel & Suites, Hawally in Kuwait.
BOTBALL is a U.S.-based organization that introduces robotics to high schools. Student teams are equipped with a Lego© Mindstorm robot, along with instruction on how to program it to move autonomously through a course. The programming sessions conclude with a challenge—student teams are pitted against one another to see whose robot completes the course. The winning team also must demonstrate the work they've done in order to program their robot.
“When people think about robots, they usually have in mind something like R2D2 from Star Wars. But robots are much more than that – we use robotics technology to build accident-avoiding cars, intelligent homes for elderly people, advanced monitoring of diabetes, systems to monitor chemical plants and toys that teach school kids about math and science,” says Chuck Thorpe, Ph.D., dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar. “The field is exploding; we need more young people to join robotics, and to add their imaginations to help us discover all the things we can do.”
The teams from Ru'ya Bilingual School. & British School of Kuwait will go on to compete in the Regional BOTBALL Championship on May 24 at the Diplomatic Club in Doha.
The winning team of the May 24 final will receive a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA to visit and tour the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Additionally, Al Jazeera Children’s Channel is airing a four-part documentary on BOTBALL. The first episode of the BOTBALL documentary will air Friday, May 4, at 18:45 Riyadh time with a re-broadcast Saturday, May, 5 at 14:45. The second episode will air Friday, May 11, at 18:45 and be re-broadcast Saturday, May 12, at 14:45.
The third episode will air Friday, May 18, at 18:45 and be re-broadcast Saturday, May 19, at 14:45. The fourth and final episode will run Friday, May 25, at 18:45 with a re-broadcast Saturday, May 26, at 14:45.
For more information on BOTBALL in Qatar, visit www.qatar.cmu.edu/BOTBALL.
BOTBALL Robotics Program is a hands-on learning experience in robotics designed to engage young students in learning the practical applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The BOTBALL Program was developed in 1993 in the U.S. by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics (KIPR). The goal of the KISS Institute program is to get high school and middle school students interested and excited about the fields of science, information and engineering as they design, construct and program an autonomous robot. The BOTBALL program gives teenagers an activity where they learn from the program on the internet and develop engineering and programming skills through hands-on experience with robots. It also builds important community ties between schools, educators and local high technical organizations. For more information about BOTBALL, please visit: http://www.BOTBALL.org
About Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar is the first international branch campus operated by Carnegie Mellon University, a private American research university that's regularly ranked among the best in the world. In August 2004 Carnegie Mellon Qatar began offering its highly regarded undergraduate programs in business administration and computer science at the invitation of the Qatar Foundation. Carnegie Mellon plans to open a new facility on the Education City campus in January 2008. More information can be found at http://www.qatar.cmu.edu
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