June 2, 2016

Ninth Annual Claremont Robotics Competition

Robotics Competition

Sometimes it’s OK for children to spend lots of time on electronic devices.

The Ninth Annual Claremont Robotics Competition was held May 26 at CGU, drawing more than 100 local schoolchildren to the DesCombes Quad in a test of tech and teamwork.

The annual event is designed to encourage Claremont Unified School District students in grades 5 through 12 to take an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—or STEM—as well as cultivate critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Eight teams were given special Lego building kits that included motors, sensors, and microcomputers. They were tasked with building remote-controlled, wheeled robots. Teams are scored in several categories, including design and construction, how the robots performed in races and maze-like paths, and teamwork.

All students received a certificate for their participation. Top-scoring teams received trophies and ribbons.

The competition was co-founded by district educator and CGU alumna June Hilton (PhD, Education, 2004), who is also a lecturer with CGU’s School of Educational Studies. It is a joint effort between the district and the Claremont Colleges, including students and faculty from Harvey Mudd College.

Media reports and educators continue to demonstrate the merits of introducing robot-making to students, particularly those in elementary school. Mastering the technology helps students with sensory learning, improved socialization, and creating opportunities for hands-on innovation, among other benefits, according to Edutopia. One EdTech article declared that “[t]here’s a robotics movement under way at schools across the country,” noting that states such as Minnesota and Arizona officially recognize robotics competitions as sports.