Tomorrow’s engineers and tradespeople provided a glimpse of the future last week as Timberline Secondary School hosted the annual Skills Canada North Island Regional trades competition.
Along with challenges in traditional trades like automotive service, cabinetmaking, welding and culinary arts, students got hands-on experience in robotics, digital art and both 2-D and 3-D computer animation, including 3-D printing.
“This is sumo kitty,” said Lucy Dabbs, who awaited the sumo robot tournament in the cafeteria while holding a purple, whisker- and tail-wearing wedge of composite with wheels and an electric motor. “I designed it in a 3-D computer program and printed it.”
Upstairs in one of the classrooms, another group of students was tasked with programming Lego robot “cars” to go through a series of challenges using audio and ultrasonic sensors.
Back in the cafeteria, other teams of students were turning uncooked spaghetti into bridges using hot glue. The structures were required to hold at least a kilogram of weight, with the lightest bridge able to bear the weight earning the top prize.
But while much of the competition may have looked like simple fun and games, it all bore elements of learning in a fast-paced, challenge setting.
Winners in each category of the regional competition earned berths in the Skills BC provincial finals April 15 in Abbotsford, with the ultimate goal a spot in the Skills Canada National Competition May 27-30 in Saskatoon.