QUARTZ HILL – Students involved in the Vex Jets Robotics team at Joe Walker Middle School helped a former student establish a robotics team in Tokyo, Japan. Under the guidance of teacher Matthew Anderson, the Vex Jets students have been video-corresponding with former student Noah Okada for the past four months.
Okada was heavily involved with the Vex Jets and 3D printing lab during his time at Joe Walker. Once he moved to Japan, he noticed his school did not have a robotics team, so he reached out to Anderson for guidance on assembling a team to compete in VEX Robotics Competitions.
Each month the Vex Jets would video chat with Okada and other interested students, discussing the process of forming a robotics team and strategies for upcoming competitions. Okada was able to form a robotics team named the Knights, which competed in December of last year. During the new team’s preparation, the Vex Jets video-conferenced the Knights to exchange advice on building and programming robots and to explain the challenges a team may face at its first competition.
“Our students live and breathe robotics everyday, they are eager to learn how they can improve from the day before,” Anderson said. “It’s inspiring to witness the Vex Jets and the Knights collaborate with each other and take on the role of an educator by helping each other succeed in the world of robotics.”
The partnership among the teams led the Knights to receive the Innovated Award at the VEX Robotics Competition in Japan, leading to a bid to compete at the World Championship. Both teams are hopeful that they will meet in person at the 2016 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship in April.
“It’s amazing how robotics can bring students together from around the world,” stated Westside Union School District Superintendent Regina Rossall. “We want our students to grow and explore new opportunities. By having our students collaborate with those in Japan, it will motivate both parties to continue to excel in STEM education.”
The Vex Jets and the Knights will continue to remain in contact to share their insights in vex robotics, according to Anderson.
The Vex Jets are an award-winning robotics team, recognized as a top competitor in robotics competitions. Anderson has led his students to win numerous awards.