Hanalani Schools Wins Fifth Bot Title

It was a good day for the future scientists and engineers at Hanalani Schools. On May 17, the Mililani school won its fifth regional Botball tournament at its student activity center.

Students participating in Botball use science, technology, engineering and math skills to design, build and program robots in a collaborative hands-on project.


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Wahiawa Community Team members Meagan Sabug and Jade Lum from Leilehua High School make final adjustments May 17 before their match in the 2014 Hawaii Regional Botball Tournament at Hanalani Schools in Mililani.

Chenfu Chiang, STEM Academy head and robotics coach at Hanalani School, said the robotics program teaches students real-world skills by combining communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership.

“The tournament board is not identical to our practice board,” said Chiang. “The students have to adjust accordingly. [During the tournament], the touch sensors on the robot failed from overuse, but the students replaced them quickly. Then the motors failed just before the double-elimination round. That was catastrophic. The students did an amazing job of replacing the motors in minutes. They then calibrated them with educated guesses, because there was no time for them to do trial runs to make sure it was right. Amazingly, everything worked well.”

The victory at the regional opens the door for the team to compete for its third international title next month.

The 2014 Global Conference on Educational Robotics will be held from July 30 to Aug. 3 at University of Southern California at Los Angeles. The international championship is different from the state-level competition — the format features cooperative alliance matches. Teams that are eliminated from the double-elimination round have an opportunity to compete in Alliance Matches.

These matches pair teams from different schools and regions to compete cooperatively in an effort to score as many points as possible with robots from both teams.