Students learn about sumo wrestling through handmade robots

·1 min read

Students at Homma elementary had the opportunity to learn about sumo wrestling with a hands-on activity that saw them designing their own robots with Lego.

A Grade 3/4 class started using programmable Edison robots—a classroom tool that helps students learn about coding and robotics—in May, thanks to student teacher Eduardo Madrigal, who lived in Japan for three years and was familiar with sumo wrestling.

Madrigal learned the robots had a sumo wrestle mode, and used it as an opportunity to teach students about the history, meaning, and culture of sumo. Students learned some Japanese words and watched videos of the Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.

“Students built sumo robots using Lego and the Edisons, tested them and redesigned/added to them. Then, the bots got to fight in a sumo tournament in the official rings,” said teacher Dorota Szelagowicz.

Four posters were made to be wrestling rings, with the four major Japanese cities—Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka—written around them. Madrigal said students asked a lot of great questions and really enjoyed designing their own sumo robots.

“A hands-on project like this is an exciting way to teach the applied design, skills and technologies skills, but also to introduce other concepts and celebrate our cultures—in this case Asian history month and Steveston and our school's Japanese connection,” said Madrigal.

Szelagowicz added, “This was a unique way to honour Japanese culture in our Steveston community and a creative learning opportunity for (our) students.”

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel

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