In the ninth national robotics competition in Jordan, first prize went to four students of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school in Baqa’a camp and two of their teachers.
“Our team, ‘Lego King’, competed against 37 private and government schools. It was tough, but worth the effort. I felt like we won the World Cup. Now, we will compete at the Arab level in Doha and the international level in the USA”, said computer teacher Raed Musleh.
The theme of the 2014 robotics competition was ‘natural disasters’. Through a scientific challenge involving research and participation in designing and programming robots, the programme aims to motivate children to learn and pay more attention to science, engineering, math and technology. Competition judges evaluated participants on four criteria: the mission itself, meaning the specific tasks the team had to accomplish within a certain time frame; the design and programming of the robot; the project itself; and teamwork.
Ninth-grader Baker Maksab was excited about the prize. “We deserve it”, he said. “We worked hard from October through March. I would love to participate in Doha and USA competitions for the sake of the competition itself and to enhance our skills through learning from other competitors.”
“The upshot of our project was developing a Windows-supported smartphone application”, said computer teacher Mohammad Othman. The first Arabic application of its kind in Jordan, it contains “information about natural disasters, first aid and JPRS. It is audio supported for people with special needs, and on top of all that, it operates offline.”
With one success behind them, the team is now focussing on the upcoming competitions. The civil defense of Jordan has also shown interest in using and promoting the application, and the team is working on registering their invention and making it available for all users free of charge.
Baker is determined to keep improving the product. “Our next step is to improve the application further to be able to compete on the Arab level. Then we will add more modifications for the international competition”, he said.