iSTEAM on Show at Underwater Robot Contest

A fun and thought-provoking competition was organized by the School of Engineering’s Center for Global & Community Engagement in Spring 2016, promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics as well as inclusiveness (iSTEAM) among Hong Kong students.

The Underwater Robot Competition called for primary and secondary school students to work in teams to create robots that would compete against each other to complete a series of underwater tasks. The Center recruited 42 HKUST student mentors to teach basic robot-making skills to the 25 participating student teams during a one-day workshop and to help organize the two-day competition.

Over 120 students from Primary 4 to Form 3 joined the event. With participants from different backgrounds and with differing abilities, some with special needs, the project created multiple learning opportunities in science, technology, creativity and social inclusion.

Prof Tim Woo, Director of the Center for Global & Community Engagement, said the initiative provided an excellent platform to raise students’ awareness of iSTEAM. He said participants could gain robotics knowledge on the one hand and get to know what STEAM was all about on the other. Understanding the values and needs of students with different abilities further extended the competition’s reach. At least 20% of the teams included special education needs participants, he said.