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Holly Bennett
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More than 700 students aged from 5 to 18 years old will gather at the University of Melbourne Parkville campus today, Tuesday 14 August, to compete in the RoboCup Junior State Finals and vie for a spot in the national competition.

RoboCup Junior will use age-appropriate robotics and design to engage girls and boys of primary and high school ages in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). This is the fifth year the competition has been held at the University.

University of Melbourne Mechanical Engineering Professor Jason Monty said programs like RoboCup Junior helped create excitement about STEM – including among female students.

“RoboCup Junior is making robotics, engineering and computer science really accessible and easy to digest for students from early primary school right through to Year 12,” Professor Monty said.

“Students have spent months designing, building and programming robots to compete in robot rescues, live soccer matches and choregraphed dance routines. They’ve drawn on each other’s different skills and learnt how to work as a team.

“Programs like RoboCup Junior help inspire the engineers of the future, and we’re delighted to see female participation in Robocup Junior has risen more than six per cent from last year.”

RoboCup Junior Victoria has received funding support from the Victorian State Government to help increase regional schools’ involvement and encourage female participation.

“This is our biggest year yet, with 738 students registered to participate, representing 279 teams from 56 schools throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria,” said RoboCup Junior Victoria State Chair Evan Bailey.

“We’re proud to deliver relevant and fun STEM-based learning activities to Australian primary and secondary students.

"The support of the University of Melbourne in provision of space, resources and assistance has been invaluable in developing this event into the largest junior robotics competition in Australia”