Students from Ladysmith Secondary School (LSS), will be competing in the second annual SD68 robotics competition and showcase.
The competition takes place at John Barsby Community Secondary in Nanaimo on Friday, May 24, 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Students will showcase their engineering savvy with VEX robotics, a system designed for hands-on learning in the classroom. LSS has worked on two types of VEX systems, the EDR, an integrated system of motors, wheels, and metal, and the VEX IQ, which is primarily plastic based.
LSS teacher of careers and robotics, Jacob Hardy inherited the role of the LSS robotics program from a previous teacher who ordered the kits. Hardy has been leading LSS’s robotics program for two years and says it has provided a valuable learning experience to students.
“Anything between mechanical engineering, electronics, basic design thinking between testing, prototyping, and of course releasing it to see what actually happens. A lot of it goes through a design thinking process… I really try to get them to think about an engineer’s process. Everything has been tested, built, and prototyped, so why wouldn’t we do that here?” Hardy said.
The students’ passion for robotics is heightened in context of the competition. In preparation for the district wide competition, LSS students compete in the classroom to develop the best designs.
“You find that they become very passionate about what they do,” Hardy said. “If they see another student building something beyond what they are able to do, they’ll take ideas, they’ll take inspiration, rebuild, redefine, and continue to build on top of their ideas until they’re happy with their design.”
Students who succeed in the classroom competitions win not only bragging rights, but they also earn a spot at the district competition. LSS is one of the top competitions in the district competition. They took first place for the VEX IQ category last year.
Hardy is looking to build on the success of LSS’s robotics program in future years, and hopes that all LSS students will have the opportunity to learn robotics.
“I’d like to see every student that comes through Ladysmith at least have a chance to understand engineering and robotics. I feel that as we progress as a society things like robotics, AI, and basic engineering are going to be so important to society… having an opportunity is just huge for these kids,” Hardy said.