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  • This article describes the process undertaken by three students from Feilding’s Manchester Street School as they designed and built a robot that won the New Zealand VEX IQ Challenge. The article offers an authentic way of introducing students to programming and computational thinking, as well as physics and engineering concepts related to energy, weight and balance.

    The VEX IQ Challenge required the robot to pick up rings, carry them across the playing field and place them in the scoring areas. The students looked at a tractor with a front end loader for inspiration and mimicked the pivot points from the loader onto the robot arms to successfully collect and move the rings for the challenge.

    Through trial and error, we eventually got a version we were happy with.

    Kellan (student)
    Rights: Crown Copyright 2018

    Connected article: To build a bot

    An article in the 2018 level 3 Connected journal ‘Cracking the Code’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

    Photograph by Matthew Hamling and background textures by George Frost.

    Check your school library for the article from the 2018 level 3 Connected journal ‘Cracking the Code’ download it as a Google slide presentation from Tāhūrangi or order it from the Ministry of Education.

    Teacher support material

    The teacher support material (TSM) can be downloaded from Tāhūrangi (Word and PDF files available). It includes the learning activities – Investigating the mathematics and physics of robotics, Robots and us and Using and building our own robots – along with related resource links.

    Rights: Crown Copyright 2018

    2018 Connected level 3 ‘Cracking the Code’

    The cover of the 2018 level 3 Connected journal ‘Cracking the Code’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand. This issue includes the articles To build a bot, South Pacific beats, Square eyes and Listening to the land.

    Photograph by Rebecca Hawkes.

    Related content

    The Science Learning Hub has a wide range of supporting content under our robots topic.

    Check out our entire range of Connected articles here. We’ve curated them by topic and concepts.

    Activity idea

    Use the Futures thinking toolkit to start a discussion on the increasing role that robots play in our future.

    Useful links

    Read about Feilding's Manchester Street School successes’ at the international VEX Robotics Challenge in this article.

    Find out more about the VEX Robotics Competition on their website.

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email


    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 30 April 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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