Rapid Education are a Colchester-based supplier of all things STEM to schools all over the UK, and educational robotics is one of their specialisms. Rapid have been involved with the organisation and running of the VEX IQ Challenge in the UK since it began in 2013 and now there are hundreds of teams taking part UK-wide.
In 2016, Rapid teamed up with Flakt Woods, a local engineering firm, to supply free VEX IQ robotics kits to primary schools in and around the Colchester area, with the aim of helping these schools to deliver high-quality STEM activities. North Primary were the lucky recipients of one of these grants which, as well as providing a kit for the schools, gave them several training sessions and mini-competitions at Rapid’s HQ.
Sheila Walker is the computing lead at the school: “VEX IQ at North Primary has given the children at our Robot Club a chance to explore STEM basics. They learn how to design, construct and program a robot to perform challenges which means they need to consider the mechanics needed to carry out the tasks and use their collaboration skills to resolve problems that may occur with their design. We have taken part in the VEX IQ Challenge for three years and it has given our KS2 children the opportunity to compete against KS3 children which really boosts their confidence. By the time our Robot Club children move on to their secondary schools they are well equipped with the important teamwork and leadership skills they need to succeed in their future education.”
Since then, North Primary have competed at the VEX IQ UK National Championships twice this year, beating 59 other teams to scoop the Excellence Award, the highest accolade in the competition. Along with UK glory, that award also qualified them for VEX Worlds, which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest ever robotics competition.
The school governors have seen what the VEX IQ Challenge has done for the students that take part. As well as recognising the robotics club as a key part of their offering, they are also keen to promote STEM to other schools in the region.
Chris Calver, Rapid’s Education Manager, has been supporting North Primary since they started out with VEX IQ. “The staff at North Primary have really embraced the VEX IQ Challenge and use the benefits of the competition to full effect which gives their students the opportunity to learn about STEM in the most incredible way. Competition robotics gives students real world applications for maths and science principles as well as giving a good focus for learning coding. I’m proud of Rapid’s involvement in the competition and I am delighted that North Primary will be representing the UK at VEX Worlds!”
If you would like your school to get involved with the VEX IQ Challenge, contact [email protected]
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