All-Girl Team Takes First in Wonder League Robotics Competition
An all-girls team from Hartland, MI — the Pink Eagles — has won the grand prize for the 9–12 age group in the Wonder League Robotics Competition. A team from Bangalore, India (Team X-PLODE) took first place for the 6-8 age group.
Wonder Workshop, the company behind Dash and Dot robots, hosted the competition, which challenged more than 20,000 students from around the world to compete in collaborative teams by designing solutions to real-word challenges in science and technology. The competition launched in October, and the finalist round was held in January. The latest competition focused on rescue animal habitats on "Bear Byte Island."
"The Wonder League is a worldwide network of elementary coding and robotics clubs using Wonder Workshop's all-inclusive program to inspire an early love of coding, computer science, tangible learning and STEM education," according to a news release. "Clubs form through schools, communities, homes and friendship. Teams of students between the ages of 6 and 12 with access to one set of Dash & Dot robots — which students program using code — participate in the robotics competition, where they develop problem solving, growth mindset and creativity skills through learning to code."
The winning teams will each receive $5,000 for STEM-related supplies, and each winning team member will get a Dash robot and a special edition Wonder League finalist shirt. Members of the top five teams will also receive Dash robots, and members of the top 30 teams will receive finalist shirts. A complete list of competition winners is available at clubs.makewonder.com.
Students from 52 countries and every region of the United States participated in more than 5,300 teams in this year's competition, more than tripling the number of participants in last year's challenge. Nearly as many girls competed as boys, according to information released by the company, and half of the finalists in the 9–12 category were girls. Girls made up 35 percent of the finalists in the younger age bracket.
"Our daughter and her friends first joined Wonder League thinking it would be a fun and engaging way to learn more about robotics. But what they discovered was so much more than that," said Frank Tappen, coach of the 2016–2017 winning Pink Eagles team, in a prepared statement. "While solving this year's missions, the girls learned invaluable, lifelong skills about time-management, group collaboration and contributing to their community. By working closely as a team, they developed some pretty creative solutions! What started out as a robotics project for a small group of girls grew into a remarkable story of learning and perseverance that excited our entire community."
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].