KHF Outreach
Mission Accomplished at 6th National Robotics Competition (FLL 2010)
19th December 2010

Teamwork…13-year olds Ammar Al Shareef & Abdullah Tuffaha

Two months of hard work have paid off for forty teams of students who will be competing in the "Open Arab Robotics Competition" in March 2011 following their success at the 6th National Robotics Competition (FLL 2010) this weekend.

The Jubilee Center for Excellence in Education (JCEE) of the King Hussein Foundation organized the popular event under the Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Hamzah bin Al-Hussein.

It provided students, ages 12-to-16 from private, public and UNRWA schools across Jordan with the opportunity to put their problem-solving skills to the test.

69 teams tasked with 12 missions had just two and a half minutes to maneuver LEGO robots on special tables with a large grid designed to help students simulate innovate ways to repair injuries, and build stronger bodies.

The 2010 FIRST LEGO League Challenge, titled "Body Forward" gave at least 400 students the chance to build robots designed to tackle a variety of biomedical engineering tasks including bone repair missions, auto-dispensing of medication, and blood screening.

The tension on the stage of the auditorium at the Jubilee School where six judges scrutinized six tables of competitors was palpable.

16-year old Saif Issa, from the Dair Aby Saeed public school in Irbid anxiously watched as his team's robot successfully dispensed a row of bright blue LEGOs under the glaring spotlights of the stage.

"I worked a lot," explained Issa, "I worked many hours, after school and at night also." That effort paid off; Issa and his teammates are one of the 40 teams selected to advance to the "Open Arab Robotics Competition" to be held in Jordan in March.

The 11th grader, who dreams of becoming a pilot someday, remarked that he wants to be "a person who helps develop the country and improves Jordan."

That attitude is exactly what special guest Tareq Awad, the Director of the King Abdullah Fund for Development, says he's looking for.

"Events like this, it will encourage and it will formulate the future leadership of Jordan," remarked Awad, "so it's important to really give them all the tools in order to become better citizens and more creative and be part of building the future of Jordan."

JCEE Director Ismail Hasan noted that today's students are part of the digital generation:

"I think it's our responsibility to change them from 'users' to people who can create," said Hasan.

The National Robotics Competition may just be the first step; 30 of the 69 teams were new this year and half of the competitors were girls.

16-year old competitor Aseel Abunaba'a nervously awaits the scoring

The "Brain Teasers" team from the Amman National School in Daboq consisted of five girls and two boys.

"I'm so proud of the girls because they have this power to move forward in science and technology," remarked physics teacher Manal Ghannam, "they like to learn, to make research about technology."

12-year old Nadeen Malkawi remarked that being on a team with only two boys was "no problem" and that the greatest lesson she learned was teamwork:

"That's so important," said Malkawi, "because it's something that will help me in my life."

15-year old Sara Mansour knows plenty about teamwork. The leader of a team from the Jubilee School that dubbed itself the "Roboholics" says her group is already planning to prepare a new design.

"We're going to rebuild our robot to be able to perform all of the missions," she explained, "the current one only performs ten missions."

Mansour's team and two others from the Jubilee School will be participating in the Open Arab Robotics Competition in March.

At the close of the day Dr. Adnan Badran, Chairperson of the Jubilee Institute Board of Directors recognized the efforts of the judges and awarded medals to the six highest-scoring teams.

The Jubilee Center for Excellence in Education introduced the Robotics curriculum in Jordanian schools in 2005. The JCEE is also the official supervisor of the FLL Robotic competition for 8 other Arab countries and is now in the process of forming an Arab Robotics Association.

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