Ben English, James Reid, Will Turner and Riley Youngman-Mark, ‘Baby King’s Muddled Day’, at Robocup.

Kirwee Model School Robotics


Kirwee Model School knows exactly what 21st century learning is all about. For the past term and a half Kirwee students have been focussed on designing, creating and coding robots using Lego Mindstorms kits and app software.

Two Lego Mindstorms kits were given to the school by the Christchurch division of Scott Technology, with the aim of providing the school the opportunity of being involved in the Robocup NZ Junior Competition.

Although Kirwee is a small country school, it entered two teams of year six students into the ‘Theatre Performance’ section of the competition. Although neither team placed, both presentations were highly entertaining and showcased the learners’ ability to design and programme a robot and create a performance around this.

The Kirwee students were extremely fortunate to have the expertise of Avery Dean and Ness Arps, two year seven robotics enthusiasts from Christchurch’s Ao Tawhiti School. These students travelled to Kirwee twice weekly to share their robotics knowledge and upskill the Kirwee students.

The older students were very impressed with their younger prodigies.

“They did amazingly in Robocup. When we first started the Kirwee students didn’t know anything, they really didn’t know what Mindstorms was. The robots Kirwee built are amazing. Learning how to use sensors was a new concept and they learnt a lot while getting ready for the competition,” Ness said.

Avery was also very happy with the outcome. “The ultimate goal was to create a character that could interact with other people and Kirwee did. They have gone into a competition and they’ve done something new and different with it. It’s been a huge success.”

Next on the agenda for the Kirwee students is to upskill other aspiring Year four and five programmers. Saul Clark is especially looking forward to this, “I really enjoyed Robocup because we got to perform on the stage and have a great experience. My favourite part was hearing that we get to teach the younger pupils. I also enjoyed learning how the coding blocks  worked and constructing and testing the robot was really fun.”

“The revised NZ Technology Curriculum highlights the need for students to build their skills and become innovative creators of digital technology, and not solely users and consumers in the digital world,” said Kirwee Model School Deputy Principal, Lisa Hunt. “Kirwee students are enthusiastically proving themselves as creative innovators and are ready to tackle the next digital opportunity that comes their way!”