Lights, cameras, robots!

Sequins are giving way to sequencing as STEM students dance into the future at the state ‘RoboCup’ title.

Tuesday, 24 October 2023 at 10:00 pm
The Poly Girls team smile at the camera and hold their robotics in hand.

The robots aren’t coming, they’ve already taken centre stage! But luckily, as shown by the recent state RoboCup Junior ‘Onstage’ finals for schools, the robots still have to dance to the tune of their inventors – literally.

Dance and theatrical performances integrating science, technology, arts and mathematics (STEAM) – with people, in this case primary students – are the features of the RoboCup Onstage. 

And this year’s competition on Saturday 2 September 2023 saw robots dancing to traditional Polynesian music, along with their inventors, on stage at Genazzano College in Kew. 

The RoboCup Junior is an international project-oriented educational initiative that sponsors local, regional and international robotics events for primary and secondary students. With a focus on education, the RoboCup Junior is ‘creating a learning environment for today, fostering technological advancement for tomorrow’. 

The competition is based on teams of students designing, building and programming robots to perform either a dance in time with the beat of the music or a theatrical presentation. 

Teams were judged on a technical description poster, technical demonstration, technical interview and an onstage performance. 

A new way of ‘doing the robot’

Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School’s ‘Poly Girls’, a team of students from grades 5 and 6, won the state final with their project, which found a new and unique way to celebrate their heritage.

The girls worked during lunchtime classes with the school’s STEM teacher, Illona Young, to design and program robots that would dance with them to traditional Polynesian music. They conducted 3 performances and were interviewed as part of their journey to being awarded the state championship.

The Poly Girls competed for the national title during the weekend of Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October 2023 at Albert Park, winning hearts and minds on their way to an impressive top-10 finish.

School principal Sally Webb said: ‘We are very proud of our team for promoting girls in STEM as well as highlighting pride in culture.’

The Poly Girls warmed up for the state RoboCup with a performance at the school’s Cultural Connections Pasifika Day where other students couldn’t resist joining in the dance. 

This year’s state title was a fitting reward for the students’ work and a showcase of what RoboCup is all about.

Competitors are encouraged to be creative as their imaginations will allow them with the main emphasis being on a team effort to design, build, program, create and perform. To see what such unleashed creativity can lead to, check out our video below.

Find out more

For more information, refer to RoboCup competition information.