Junior Achievement South Africa launched the first Research In Motion (RIM), Innovation Challenge on Friday, 24 February 2012 at the University of Johannesburg’s Intellilab. 40 Grade 11 learners from McCauley House, Dawnview High School, Sunward Park High School and Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School participated in the day long challenge, funded by RIM. Learners were taught how to think innovatively through a series of exciting challenges, designed in partnership with the University of Johannesburg’s Intellilab staff.
At the start of the day, learners were split into teams of four, comprising one learner from each school. The teams were provided with clues which lead them to five Market Points around University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway campus. The teams were required to purchase a box of robot parts at each Market Point whilst keeping an eye on the fluctuating exchange rate of their BlackBerry® Bucks – capitalising on purchasing the parts at the most profitable moment. The Market Points were manned by enthusiastic RIM South Africa volunteers who helped the teams decide when the best time was to purchase their parts. The RIM volunteers were headed by Karina Gibson – RIM Community Relations Manager for the EMEA region, who travelled from the U.K. to attend the event.
To add to the challenge, each box purchased contained a different number of robot parts, resulting in teams having to trade amongst themselves to ensure that they each had sufficient parts to build their robot. The balance of the afternoon saw the learners build their robots and programme them – an exciting challenge that none of them had experienced before. The robots then had to be calibrated to travel along a straight line, pick up a cold drink can and return to the starting line as quickly as possible. The evening culminated in a head to head race to determine whose robot could complete the task most successfully. To watch the head to head race click here.
Teams collected points throughout the day for the completion of various tasks, be it budgeting or programming their robots. Each team was also provided with a BlackBerry® PlayBook™ with which to document their experiences. The BlackBerry® PlayBook™ could also be used to snap photos of the teams at strategic points to increase their scores. The Duiker team won the overall challenge and were awarded various BlackBerry® branded prizes as well as R300 airtime for each team member. The learners all felt the experience was invaluable and the RIM team was surprised at how innovative the teams were during the day. The exhausted learners were all sent home at 9pm on Friday evening, having spent the entire day thinking innovatively.