In today’s’ technology-driven world, it is important to teach young students robotics throughout their schooling to enhance their creative ability and innovative thinking as they strive to be highly productive members of society in future, says University of Botswana Computer Science Lecturer, Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa.
Speaking at the First Lego League Competitions at Block 115 on November 16, 2019, Dr Motshegwa said the University of Botswana hosted the event as part of its strategy to play a leading role in assisting the country transform from mineral-based to a knowledge-based economy.
He further noted that the competitions would contribute towards tutelage and development of young students especially the girl child to take part in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
“When students programme physical robots, it is easier for them to see what goes wrong as they learn what robots can and cannot do. They learn the skills needed to create precise and accurate instructions and have fun while learning valuable lessons,” said Dr Motshegwa.
He added “Teaching robotics in schools gives students the opportunity to address the growing demand of teaching STEM subjects while learning how science, engineering, maths, and technology work together and interact”.
He also explained that teaching students robotics made them understand how to persist and solve problems. In addition, it also helped them to raise their maturity levels and prepare for real-world situations.
Meanwhile, Dare to Dream Founder, Captain Kgomotso Phatsima, urged the participants to take part in STEM subjects and competitions. Captain Phatsima also advised parents to support their children to work together in realising the country’s vision to become a knowledge-based economy
The competitions were organised by Dare to Dream Aviation School in collaboration with UB Department of Computer Science with the aim of instilling in youth the passion for STEM for learners aged between eight and 16.
The competitions were organised under the theme: “City Shapers”. The students were also challenged to come up with solution to community challenges such as pollution, lettering and climate change through presentations to a judging panel.
It also attracted 12 school across the country. These included Maruapula, Kgale Hill Junior Secondary School (Gaborone), Tadabigwa Primary School (Francistown), Bahupu Secondary School (Takatokwane), Kagiso Senor Secondary School (Ramotswa), Dare to Dream and Acacia Primary School (Jwaneng). Participants received certificates while winners were given awards.
Earth Mover Team from Livingston Kolobeng Secondary School were declared champions of the competition while the Robot Performance Award went to MUSS Team from Mahupu Unified Secondary School.
The Core Value Award was given to Future Navigator Team from Kgale Hill Junior Secondary School while Project Research Award went to Diamond City Shapers from Acacia Primary. The Robot Design Award went to Romanics from Kagiso Senior School.