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Junior School hosts first Computer Science International Outreach Day

Junior School hosts first Computer Science International Outreach Day

On Tuesday 14th June, we were delighted to welcome 35 students from Stella Maris College in Madrid, Spain for our first ever 'Computer Science International Outreach Day'. The Spanish students (all Year 8 boys) worked with our Year 6 girls in collaborative teams to learn how to program virtual (on-screen) robots as part of a RoboCupJunior inspired ‘Rescue Simulation Challenge’. 

RoboCupJunior is an international organisation that runs national and international coding and robotics competitions in a variety of age categories and leagues. Face-to-face competitions have been on-hold for the last few years due to the Pandemic but, prior to this, teams from St Mary’s Junior School have had great success at both national and international levels. Most recently, in 2019, our Year 5 Team were crowned 'RoboCupJunior UK National Primary Line Tracking Champions' our Year 6 Team were crowned ‘RoboCupJunior UK National Primary Rescue Simulation Champions’ and four of our Year 6 girls were ‘RoboCupJunior Euro 2019 Rescue Simulation Quarter Finalists’ in the U19 Category in Hannover, Germany. We hope to be able to report back on future successes, as soon as these competitions resume.

The ‘Computer Science International Outreach Day’ consisted of a workshop session in our new STEM Lab, led by Mr Severy, our Computer Science Coordinator, where the students were introduced to the Rescue Simulation software package and learnt the basics of ‘Event-Driven Programming’. They worked together to develop their code to program their robot to compete head-to-head against another team's robot and collect as many coloured objects as possible. The objects then had to be deposited in the orange 'drop zone' before the end of the three-minute competition time and bonus points were also awarded for specific actions, all whilst avoiding obstacles and traps. Having completed their initial programming, the teams were then given a development session to allow improvements to be made, before taking part in a mini competition. Certificates were awarded to the overall winning team, as well as for the highest individual match score and the best teamwork.

Our girls thoroughly enjoyed working with students from Spain and discovering that age, language and cultural differences can enhance rather than hinder collaborative working, creative thinking and teamwork. They also gained a flavour of what a rich experience international competitions can provide, and we hope that this will inspire them to compete on a global level in whatever direction their future studies lead them.

We would like to congratulate all of the students for their determination, perseverance, sporting attitude and enthusiasm throughout a very enjoyable and productive day.