At Brisbane Grammar School, we offer our students a range of opportunities to experience and build robots beyond their regular curriculum. Over 150 boys are currently engaged weekly in one of our co-curricular robotics activities.
For Year 5 and 6 students, we have lunchtime and after-school clubs that incorporate LEGO Mindstorms, LEGO Spark, a solar car challenge, and MBot platforms. In these clubs, boys develop basic programming and building skills while exploring the potential of these kits. They are also given specific tasks to achieve, such as FIRST LEGO League and LEGO sumo competitions, programming challenges, and design constraints. Teams compete against other schools in friendly competition.
Year 8 students take part in a three-day immersive robotics design thinking project called Robots to the Rescue (R2tR). In teams, students use the design thinking process to select a real-world problem and develop a robot prototype that could help solve that problem. They design their robot on paper, build a cardboard model, and finally build a working LEGO Mindstorms robot prototype that is displayed to parents and peers during a product pitch. The QUT Design department was instrumental in the creation of this program.
From Year 7 to 12, students take part in the BGS Robotics Club, which runs throughout the year. Students must apply to participate, ensuring that those who join value their place. The activity has become very popular, growing 20-fold in the last six years. In the club, students take part in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition. In 2018, we attended the State competition for the first time, and in 2022, we had four teams qualify for the National Finals. Our boys also collaborate with Brisbane Girls Grammar, sharing a build space and having friendly off-season matches.
In 2020, our team was invited to represent Australia in the FIRST Global Challenge as ‘Team Australia.’ Our boys collaborated with students from three other Queensland teams, taking part in three months of STEM challenges, social media outreach, and technical challenges. Each country can only elect one team, and Team Australia competed against more than 190 countries.
In 2019, BGS was invited to join the only Queensland FIRST Robotics Competition team (FRC) with students from three other schools. This complex international competition involves robots that weigh more than 50kg, are powered by a car battery, and are predominantly custom-made, using technologies such as CAD modelling and simulation, laser cutting, autonomous control, vision systems, and 3D printing. In the 2023 National Finals, our team was awarded the Image Award for attractiveness in engineering and outstanding visual aesthetic integration of machine and team appearance.
In 2024, BGS will start the second FRC team in Queensland. By connecting with university mentors, industry professionals, coaches, and students from other schools, we help propel our students towards careers in Engineering or Mechatronics.