FIRST Tech challenges learners to explore the moon

13 March 2019

Promoting and enhancing a love for digital technology and science with learners from an early age, is what drives the Tshwane University of Technology’s Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) to give learners opportunities to learn more about digital technology and science through various programmes and projects.

Participants at the FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Competition are testing their programmed robots before the competition starts.

Over the weekend almost 100 learners from schools country-wide once again had an opportunity to explore and compete with technology at the annual FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Competition, hosted at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The theme of the 2018/2019 season Ruckus Rover, challenged learners to bring their great ideas for moon exploration into reality.

The exciting FIRST Tech Challenge is a global robotics programme focused on helping high school learners from grades 7- to 12 develop an interest in science and technology. The primary aim of the competition is to help learners explore and think out of the box, but it also teaches them more about teamwork and time management. It also gives engineering students an opportunity to expand their knowledge in digital design as volunteers through mentoring and inspecting the robots as well as becoming referees at the competition.

The teams are paired with technical mentors which gives them an opportunity to play with and against these “pros” whilst learning how to master engineering problem solving first-hand.

Talking about the benefits of pairing of teams, Johannes de Vries, co-ordinator of the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) at TUT said: “It is important to open up opportunities to as many learners as possible. TUT has supported a FTC team coached by UNISA, from a school in Atteridgeville, Bokgoni Techno Hands, to participate in the FTC. We provided them with transport and paired them with Hoërskool John Vorster’s Mighty Minds, to facilitate this process of learning and programming, while also being mentored. At the end of the day, the Mighty Minds won the Motivate Award for a job really well done.”

Fifth Order from Hoërskool Waterkloof, who won the first prize, will represent South Africa at the World Festival in Detroit, USA, in April this year.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Willa de Ruyter, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
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