YIS Dominates the Robo Sumo Friendly

Last minute preparations!

On May 17, the young YIS Robotics Club took part in their first ever competition. It is an annual event called the Robo Sumo Friendly hosted by our neighbors St Maur.

The idea of Robo Sumo is to build a robot that will push its opponent out of a 77cm circular ring. It requires some interesting building techniques and some even more interesting programming skills. Many of the robots use the different sensors in order to make the robot more formidable: the ultrasonic sensor to detect the location of the opponent; the color sensor to know when the robot is about to roll out of the ring; the touch sensor to know when an opponent is attacking from behind!

This year the competition was small and we managed to enter three teams. One of the teams was made up of our Grade 9 student mentors, Hemanth and Aki, and the other two teams were made of up some of our Grade 6 members: William, Kenryo, Athul and Shaolun.

The three YIS teams finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the competition! Congratulations to:

  • Infinite Loop Upgrade 9.9, aka Hemanth and Aki (1st Place)
  • The Swagnim, aka Shaolun and Athul (2nd Place)
  • The Six Wheeled Monster, aka Kenryo and William (3rd Place)
The Three Winners

Congratulations to the YIS teams and to all of the students who took part in the Robotics Club this year!

Rise of the Robots

What could be better than combining the love of Legos with the love of technology?

At the start of the 2nd activities session, middle school students were given the opportunity to explore the exciting area of robotics. This activity will run until the end of the school year and uses the recently released Lego Mindstorms EV3 robotic kits.  A group of Grade 6 students has been steadily working their way through the tutorials, building the base robot and exploring how to use the various sensors – a gyroscope, a color sensor, an ultrasonic sensor, and touch sensors. They’ve also been exploring how to program their machines using the EV3 software on their computers. Here they are testing their programs for our upcoming maze challenge:

Helping our middle schooler are two high school students – Hemanth and Aki – acting as mentors. They offer advice on things like building a better machine and writing better programs. They are also both hoping to enter to the Robo Sumo Friendly hosted at St. Maur in the spring.

Watch this space for more updates on the YIS Robotics Club!


3D Printing is Here!

Grade 6s, watching it print

Of all the new technologies that have become available recently, few have created as much buzz as 3D printing. We are reading about doctors creating implants with 3D printers and engineers creating houses with 3D printers. Last week, we unpacked our first such desktop device – a MakerBot Replicator 2 – at YIS and it is generating a huge buzz amongst students and teachers alike!

As these machines become more accessible, there are two huge changes that are occurring:

  1. Everybody is a designer. Using free tools like SketchUp or Tinkercad on your computer (and tools like 123D Creature on your iPad), we all have the ability to design objects and then print them out.
  2. From consumer to creator. Instead of buying what somebody else things we want or need, we now have the ability to create what we want or need. If our initial design doesn’t work the way we hoped, we can improve it and print it out again.

With online communities like Thingiverse, you can find just about anything you can imagine. From phone cases to dishwasher parts, bike light mounts to miniature dinosaurs, it’s all there. You can even take those designs and remix them to suit your own needs since all files are uploaded under a Creative Commons license. I’m currently printing out accessories for the new printer that I found on the site!

Plato’s five famous solids, printed from Thingiverse

In the second semester, Grade 10s will be designing objects and printing them out on the 3D printer to test if they work as imagined. We’re also exploring how middle school students can create buildings in a virtual Minecraft world and then print models of those buildings on the printer. There has been great discussions about printing objects and testing their strength in Science or creating a set of characters that can be used in a storytelling unit in the ES. The possibilities for authentic inquiry truly are endless!

Our goal is to make this technology accessible to everybody: from Kindergarten to Grade 12; in Tech class as well as English class. If you have any ideas about how you’d like to use the 3D printer, or if you are a parent who uses 3D printing at home or at work, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

YIS Teachers Shine at Learning 2.0

From October 10 – 12, two YIS teachers took part in the Learning 2.0 conference in Singapore as “Learning 2 Leaders”. In addition to leading 40 – 50 other teachers from across Asia in  3-hour sessions on “Balancing the See Saw: Living Deeply with Technology” and “Everything is a Remix: Learning 2.0 Edition”, Mr. Clark and Ms. Madrid also delivered mini-keynote speeches to over 400 participants. See their keynotes below. They both deserve a lot of respect for taking such a huge risk in front of their peers and for representing Yokohama International School so well!

Additionally, Mr. Mural (“Digital Storytelling… and Beyond!”) and Ms. Cox (“Bringing the World to Your IBDP Class”) both presented 1-hour workshops at the conference, highlighting some of the great things happening in their classrooms and on campus. Well done!