Robotics for kids

7 Strategies to win RoboCupJunior

RoboCupJunior (RCJ) is a project-oriented educational initiative that sponsors local, regional and international robotic events for young students up through age 19. Each season lots and lots of students participate in this competition to show their robotics skills. If you are a beginner participating in this competition then you are in the right place. This article suggests some tips and tricks win at RoboCupJunior. 

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1. Robotics Starter (Age 8+)

2. Robotics Explorer (Age 11+)

3. Robotics Champion (Age 14+)

4. Coding Champion (Age 14+)

5. Coding Starter (Age 8+)

6. Coding Explorer (Age 11+)

7. Drones Starter (Age 8+)

8. Drones Explorer (Age 11+)

9. Drones Champion (Age 14+)

So, What is RoboCupJunior? 

RoboCupJunior competition is designed to introduce Robotics to primary and secondary school children, as well as undergraduates who do not have the resources to get involved in the senior leagues of RoboCup. The focus of RCJ is on education.

RoboCupJunior Challenges

RoboCupJunior offers several challenges, each emphasizing cooperative, problem-solving and task-achievement aspects. In the Soccer league, 2-on-2 teams of autonomous mobile robots play games in a highly dynamic environment, tracking a special light-emitting ball in an enclosed field landmarked in shades of grey. The Rescue league engages robots to identify victims quickly and accurately within re-created disaster scenarios, varying in complexity from line-following on a flat surface to negotiating paths through obstacles on uneven terrain. The robot OnStage league encourages creativity, bringing one or more robots together with music, dressed in costume and moving in harmony.

For children, the RCJ initiative provides an exciting introduction to the field of robotics, a new way to develop technical abilities through hands-on experience with electronics, hardware and software, and a highly motivating opportunity to learn about teamwork while sharing technology with friends. In contrast to the one-child-one-computer scenario frequently seen today, RoboCupJunior provides a unique opportunity for participants with a variety of interests and strengths to work together as a team to achieve a common goal.

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Strategies to win RoboCupJunior

There are three competition types at Robocup Junior: Dance, Soccer and Rescue.

For the Rescue Competition, there are two age divisions: primary school and secondary school. As one of the judges for the Primary School Rescue Competition, here are some of my tips on how to become RoboCup Junior Rescue Competition Champion.

The objective of the Rescue competition is to program a robot to navigate an obstacle course, the “rescue field”, and “rescue” a “rescue capsule” from the “spill zone.” The robot is required to get through the obstacle course to the spill zone, identify the rescue capsule, an aluminium can, and push the rescue capsule out of the spill zone. Points are given for meeting the objectives and points are deducted for various events e.g. restarting the robot.

Here are some functions you should learn to program and that your robot should be able to execute:

  • Follow a straight line (black line on white background)
  • Go over speed bumps
  • Follow a gentle curve
  • Follow a hairpin turn e.g., 7cm radius 180-degree turn
  • Follow a right angle (90 degrees) corner
  • Make a decision as to which turn to take at a fork in the road (with green square indicators)
  • Continue on a dashed line
  • Continue with a gap in the line
  • Go up and down ramps including a see-saw
  • Detect an obstacle (water tower) and go around it to connect back onto the line
  • Identify when it is in a green area
  • Detect the rescue capsule, a 375 ml aluminium can wrapped in aluminium foil.
  • Push or pull the rescue capsule out of the spill zone (green area).

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Some extra tips:

Make sure your robot is small enough to fit through the doorway

Understand how to make the best use of the drop zone by placing the chip (plastic coin) in the most optimal location.

Benefits of participating in RoboCupJunior

  1. Make New friends - Kids who participate in the robotics competition share a common interest but each of them has different strengths and weaknesses. When Kids find people of similar interest they grow their peer groups and build confidence and social skills. At RCJ kids will make new friends and build healthy ties through the successes and failures that move along with the competition.
  2. Improve STEM skills - STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) may sound like a list of school subjects but these are the base for all the advanced technologies. To build a robot successfully kids engage in innovative and critical thinking as they get hands-on experience with STEM subjects. 
  3. Scholarships - Skills that kids get through this competition will help them in securing a better career. Most of the robotics competitions offer their own scholarships, as a reward for the hard work of kids.
  4. A Non-traditional team activity - Normally people consider that sports are a traditional team activity, but not every kid is interested in sports practices and competitions. Robotics and STEAM competitions provide the benefits of being on a team, just with robots and tools instead of sports equipment. Kids still learn cooperation, leadership, emotional regulation, and how to work through the highs and lows of competition.
7 Strategies to win RoboCupJunior
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2021-03-09

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