(Colonia, Yap) Students on Micronesia's famously traditional Island of Stone Money have begun to design and assemble hi-tech programmable robots.
Robotics clubs at five high schools in Yap received VEX Classroom and Competition kits earlier this month, kicking off expansion of the popular Yap Robo League.
Using the raw parts, students will be able to design, build, and code robots to compete in a statewide STEM exhibition and robotics competition in May. Yap’s Robo League was established in 2011 by the US-based nonprofit “Habele." It is now expanding across that state through a pilot grant award by the Office of Insular Affairs.
“We were inspired by the students from Yap who represented the Federated States of Micronesia this summer at the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge international robotics competition for high school students here in Washington, D.C.,” said OIA Director Nik Pula. “Through robotics, the Habele Outer Island Education Fund has been promoting the broadening of students’ experience in applying basic Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math skills in a positive, competitive, and hands-on way, and we are pleased to support expansion of this opportunity for more students in Yap,” continued Pula.
Pupils and teachers at Yap Catholic High School have taken the lead as peer mentors, supporting expansion of the Robotics Team at the Yap SDA School and the creation of new robotics clubs at Yap High School, Outer Island High School, and Faith Academy. Their efforts follow community meetings held by Habele in early Fall to gauge interest and develop plans for the league expansion.
“As the newest school on Yap we are thrilled part of this,” said John Malimai, Principal of Faith Christian Academy in Makiy. “The materials and technical training will expand the scope of our science instruction, and working with the other schools through the league helps us integrate and collaborate with other educators on island.”
While students at the five schools have begun tinkering, teachers and administrators are coordinating for a series of technical trainings in late 2017 and early 2018 to guide their student’s work. The teams’ skills, developed over the coming months, will be showcased in a public five school robotics competition on May 22, 2018.