Anthony Brach beams as he holds up his gold medal from the provincial Skills Canada competition.
The Grade 9 student from Sands Secondary in North Delta took top spot in the Junior Sumo Bot category. A significant accomplishment, considering he and his teammates only started building their robots two months ago.
Until that time, Sands Secondary did not have a robotics club. Sensing the desire to have such a club, student-teacher Emil Jurica, who is at the school to complete his teaching practicum, decided to start the extra-curricular club.
“Often these students’ electives are already spoken for and they miss out on taking a technology class or have the room for only one, so this club allows them to experience multiple subjects in a non-graded, relaxed environment,” Jurica said.
Five students joined the club and set-out to create sumo bots for the Skills Canada regional competition at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, which was just a month away.
A sumo bot is a robot designed and built to push another student’s robot out of a ring. These robots must conform to certain standards such as maximum weight and size, but students are allowed to use their creativity to design a robot they think can win.
In building these sumo bots, students learn about design, prototyping, gear ratios, co-efficiency of friction, mass, creating printed circuit boards, soldering, programming Arduino microprocessors, troubleshooting, sportsmanship, and metal working skills.
After a month of hard work, the team participated in the regional Skills Canada competition on March 2. Brach placed second, winning a silver medal and qualifying the team for provincials.
The team revised and modified their sumo bots to fix design flaws before partaking in the B.C. Skills Canada provincial competition on April 18 at the Tradex in Abbotsford where Brach placed first in the Junior Sumo Bots category.
Several other Delta School District students also fared well in this year’s Skills Canada competition. At the regional level, Delta students brought home three bronze, three silver and three gold medals. At the provincial level, Cameron Laidlaw from Seaquam Secondary won bronze in the automotive category, and Alexander Thormeyer from South Delta Secondary won silver in mechanical computer assisted design.