This youngsters’ intelligence is not artificial

 

Lethabo Zitha (9) who is in Grade 3 at Curro Rivonia achieved third place in an inter-school robotics competition recently despite a number of obstacles.

The Grade 3 WeDo Challenge is a competition using Lego robotic parts that are connected to a computer, which children must programme in order for their robots to move. Zitha competed against school children from Aurora, Rivonia and Waterfall Curro Schools. This was part of a larger competition for intermediate-phase children from across the country.

Zitha competed by himself in the competition against more than 15 other contenders who were competing in teams of two. He overcame the obstacle of having to compete on his own to finish third behind Luke Reilly and Zazi Manzana, in first and second place respectively from Curro Aurora.

Mathematics and robotics teacher at Curro Rivonia, Anthony Zhou said the children had to build a robot and use it to push objects into various corners of the mat using programming technology on their laptops. Children learn about sustainable tourism through the programme by using their machinery to protect animals.

“Robotics requires a lot of group work, which can prove to be challenging for Grade 3s, and programming. They need to learn how to understand a 3D model and work on their perception and counting skills to reach the end,” said Zhou. “Lethabo stood out above the rest because of his ability to understand the programme quickly and experiment with it. There was much trial and error and he was able to learn from his mistakes to be successful.”

Zitha said his highlights from the competition were the key ring prize he received and the opportunity to make new friends from other schools. “I like robotics because we get to programme and use robots and it’s fun. I think I got far because I had faith in myself and I want to work to come first at the next competition,” said Zitha.

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Marketer for Curro Rivonia Hitekani Makhubele said the school in Rivonia has only been open for eight months, making Zitha’s success even more remarkable, since many of his competitors would have been introduced to robotics in Grade 2.

Details: For more information on Curro Schools, visit their website on www.curro.co.za

 

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Sarah Koning

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