Kipa-Bots get 2nd place in Joburg world champs

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The mind boggles at 12 eighth grade learners from a school in Modiin, Israel who first became Israeli champs and then took 2nd place in the world champs held in Jo'burg last weekend. The international Lego robotics competition required creating robots out of Lego, programmed and fine-tuned to mathematical equations. These imaginative building blocks, marketed originally as toys for the very young, have come a long way. Read about the precision of the robots built by the Israeli teens, see pictures and find out what else they had to do....
by SUZANNE BELLING | May 13, 2015

Their achievements in the field of Legorobotics and an obligatory accompanying project on how to improve education, earned the youngsters second place out of 44 competing countries in the competition held at the Dome last week.

The name of the team, Kipa Bots, is a combination of their middle-of-the road Jewish observance and their passion for Legorobotics.

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Not only did their creation of the robots gain them the acclaim of the judges, but also the model design of an ideal classroom.

They designed the model to be conducive to learning and teaching, complete with tables, whiteboards, an aquarium for time-out with an emphasis on cohesion and integration between teachers and their learners.

Future Classroom

A far cry from the traditional classrooms with desks in formation and loafers sitting at the back, the Kipa Bots team’s classroom design was approved by the director-general of education in Israel, complete with a budget to actually build two classrooms on this model, with a third on another campus in the offing.

“It is encouraging a comeback to engineering, as opposed to the usual career choices of law and accountancy,” said their school principal, Itamar Haikin, who brought the boys to South Africa.

The team was accompanied by mentors Sigal Uziel-Karl and her husband Yosi Karl.

The competition, he says, is entitled FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). “It is a joint venture between the First Lego League (FLL) and FIRST.

“It has taken off all over the world and this particular competition was organised by FIRST in South Africa. In Israel, there are 400 FLL groups.

Make no mistake, this was hard work

“The FLL challenges us to build a robot and programme it to complete a maximum number of assignments within a given time frame, to score points on a themed playing field (robot game), to develop a solution to a problem we identify in the real world - the project - and to do all this while adhering to the FLL core values.”

The team meets twice a week after school for about six to eight hours, where they design, build, programme, test and refine their robot, as well as spending time working on the FLL World Class Project.

The boys told SA Jewish Report: “We each bring different talents to the group. We have our engineers, programmers, problem solvers and researchers. We all work together to achieve our goals.”

One of the strengths of the Kipa Bots teams was the proficiency in English during the presentations, as many of the members have roots in Anglo-Saxon countries, including South Africa.

“What we discover is more important than what we win,” is the consensus of the team players.

LEGO - Kipa Bots team

The award-winning Israeli Kipa Bots team that took second place among 44 teams in an international Lego robotics competition in Johannesburg, Sigal Uziel-Karl, mentor; Lishay Ein Dor; Eshel Sinclair; David Grunfeld; Omer Avidar; Matan Kriel; Matan Rynhold; Shalev Zeiger; Oren Ansbacher; Yona Gil Zeller; Omri Kingsley; Rafi Cohen; Noam Maissel; and Yosi Karl, mentor


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