The VEX RoboWeek 2023 robotics competition took place in Dnipro on October 24 and 26. Participants from Dnipro and other cities learned to design and program a hero robot and use it to compete in performing rescue tasks. The event was organized by Association Noosphere as part of the European programming week and the European Meet&Code initiative, which is supported by Amazon and SAP and implemented by Haus des Stiftens gGmbH and TechSoup Europe together with its partner in Ukraine, the GURT Resource Center.
This year’s VEX Roboweek was more than just a STEM course. The theme of the event was Technological Reconstruction of the City. Using American VEX GO constructors, children aged 9-12 years old created and programmed a hero robot that transported medicine to a hospital, rescued people and animals, cleared fallen trees and removed rubble from roads. All of this is extremely relevant for Ukraine as it recovers from the damage caused by Russia’s ongoing full-scale invasion.
“I dream of creating robots that will replace rescuers and save the lives of not only victims, but also people who risk their lives to rescue others,” explained 12-year-old participant Makar.
First, the children were introduced to VEX Robotics constructors and taught to build them and program to carry out certain actions. Afterwards, the participants applied what they learned to complete their missions.
Although the spirit of competition was present among the participants, the competition was not a confrontation, but rather an opportunity to learn new things and make new friends. After all, the VEX robotics platform not only develops design, prototyping, and programming skills, but also encourages children to work in teams as both leaders and followers.
The robo-competition gathered 36 participants, a third of whom were girls. The event drew children from outside of Dnipro, as well, including participants Hanna and Lev from Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast.
“I am very passionate about robotics. I programmed a robot for the first time, because before that I had only used a Lego constructor. In the future, I want to use robotics to create an alarm clock that will be able to wake me up,” said 11-year-old Hanna.
Association Noosphere works to popularize STEM education in Ukraine. One component of this work is organizing robotic events centered around American VEX Robotics constructors. They give children the opportunity not only to learn how to create and program robots, but also to become part of the international robotics community with more than a million participants from all over the world.