Our Islands, Our Future

The Maui League VEX IQ Robotics finals took place on Saturday January 28th at Lokelani Intermediate School in Kihei. The Teamwork Champion Award went to Pukalani Elementary School team 10704B and Maui Preparatory Academy team 10528B. Both teams, along with Pomaikai Elementary School, qualified for the State/Regional VEX IQ Challenge on February 20, 2017 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. These Maui students continue to spend countless hours designing, building, programming and testing their robots with hopes of advancing to the 10th VEX Robotics World Championship on April 19-25, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The VEX IQ Challenge is played on a 4’x8’ rectangular field. Two robots compete in the Teamwork Challenge as an alliance in 60-second teamwork matches, working collaboratively to score points. Teams also compete in two additional challenges. The Robot Skills Challenge requires each robot to take the field under driver control. The Programming Skills Challenge requires each robot to score points without any driver inputs. The object of the game is to attain the highest score by accumulating Hexballs in their color-coded zones and goals and by parking and balancing robots on the bridge.

For over a decade, the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund of Maui Economic Development Board, fueled with the generous support from numerous community businesses and individuals, has been empowering Maui County students to compete in the VEX IQ Challenge and First® Robotics Competitions. “MEDB is thrilled to see the excitement of our Maui County students as they experience the Maui League competitions,” said Isla Young, WIT K-12 STEM Director. “As we continue to engage our students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education, robotics is one example that brings together critical thinking, teamwork, and research.”

“If it weren’t for MEDB, Pukalani Elementary School would not have this incredible Robotics program,” said Jasmine Domingo, Pukalani Robotics Coach. “Alongside their STEM education, the students are building leadership and problem-solving skills. I’m so proud of them!”

I love that there are always new things to learn at the competitions, such as how to improve programming of robots. Also, I enjoy working with my teammates and students from other schools.

Josie Vierra, Pukalani Elementary School 4th Grader