Mecha Penguins: Young Istrian Roboticists Attract Cash With Campaign

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a team of young Istrian roboticists “Mecha Penguins” came together to design the project entitled “BUZET – reSTART siSTEma” and with the help of their mentors, the Vazmoslav Grzalja Elementary School and the Pozitron Centre from Vizinada, they launched a fundraising campaign to equip their school with modern equipment for performing STEAM activities.

The response to Mecha Penguins’ campaign was excellent, with a total of 105,212 kuna having been collected, with which 25 robotic sets from the LEGO Education programme and ten laptops were purchased, reports Glas Istre/The Voice of Istria.

During the handover of the equipment, the principal, Jadranka Bartolic Muzica, thanked everyone who helped the Buzet elementary school enter the STEAM area in style. The primary goals of the “BUZET – reSTART siSTEMa” project were the procurement of robotic equipment and teacher education in order to introduce STEAM extracurricular activities for students of this school in Buzet, as well as regional schools in Lanisce, Roc and Vrh. The campaign was launched back at the beginning of October by sending requests to business entities and an online crowdfunding campaign for individuals.

The “Mecha Penguins” team consists of ten students from the Vazmoslav Grzalja school in Buzet, namely David Greblo, Emil Luka Ladovic, Dora Majer, Fran Crnac, Heli Savko, Lana Krbavcic Ratosa, Linda Kert, Marin Rehak, Marko Marusic and Mia Majcan, who are all preparing to participate in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge (FLL) project/robotic competition.

The competition will be held in February next year, organised by the Croatian Robotics Association, in Zagreb at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing. It is the largest global robotics competition that was founded back in 1998 in the USA, while it has been being held here in Europe since 2001. The number of participants in the FLL programme grows every year, and today it connects more than 110 countries of the world in which more than 340,000 children participate in 40,000 teams.

“There are no words to thank everyone who helped our project in any way”, said the members of the Mecha Penguins team which participated in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge as one of the two teams of the “Pozitron – Centre for Technological Development” and STEM education” from Vizinada.

“We sent requests for support for our project to numerous addresses of local enterprises, as well as more widely. At the same time, we launched a crowdfunding campaign for individuals on the GoGetFunding web platform, and we collected the funds carry out the LEGO Education STEAM programme. A total of 84,135 kuna was set aside for the donated equipment, and the rest will be invested in the education of the teachers who will implement the STEAM programme at the school.

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