The Robotics Program at Altona Primary School


'Coding' is a word often used in the media these days, particularly with the introduction of the new Digi Tech curriculum. At APS we pride ourselves in being ahead of the game, having taught coding in various forms since the early days when Mrs Tyerwould began teaching ICT at APS. So what is it? Essentially it is the process of designing, writing, testing, and troubleshooting, programs for computers. These days at APS, coding is taught at every year level, not because we think every student will become a computer scientist, on leaving school (although some will!) but because of the valuable incidental skills your child will pick up along the way; problem solving, computational thinking, persistence, sequencing skills and attention to detail to name few!
Much of these coding skills are taught through the use of robotics, in programs we have funded through a mixture of school funding, parents club fundraising and community grants from our local Mobil plant. Every student in the school will have the opportunity to take part in our robotics program during digi tech sessions starting in Prep with the use of Dot & Dash robots to teach sequencing and directional language.  Our Grade 3 students receive an introduction to simple physics and linear programs using the Lego WeDo construction sets. These kits teach students the workings of simple mechanisms and sensors such as motion sensors, light sensors, pulleys, gears and cams. Students learn how to write linear programs with which to test and control their constructions.

robotics                 robotics



Grade 5 students progress to using the Lego Mindstorms NXT construction sets. These kits require students to use a series of instructions to construct a driving robot with a golf arm. The robot utilises light sensors to determine the correct colour ball to hit. Students learn how to program and calibrate light, sound and ultrasonic sensors. Written programs increase in complexity and students learn how to make the robot perform different tasks depending on the information received by the sensors.

Robot           Robot



Grade 6 students utilise the Lego Mindstorms NXT and EV3 construction sets to construct an ‘Express Bot’ using only a picture of the finished product. They are then required to work through a series of programming challenges to develop their ability to program simple and complex movement, light and sound detection and reaction to movement. 

Robot              Robot





RoboCup Junior is an international robotics competition held each year across three divisions: Dance, Rescue and Soccer. Each division has different requirements with Altona students competing in the Rescue division. The Rescue division simulates a toxic chemical spill and participating students must design and program a rescue robot capable of navigating obstacles within the warehouse to rescue the workers trapped inside. Finished designs must be capable of navigating ramps, speed humps, round-abouts as well as avoiding objects in their path.


Altona Primary have participated in RCJV since 2013 and currently hold two silver medals at a state level. We currently compete in four divisions:

  1. Riley Rover (first year entrants only)
  2. Primary Rescue
  3. Secondary Rescue
  4. Advanced Rescue

Due to the extension nature of the program, students will always be placed in a league that is at a level of challenge for their ability. Students may end up being placed in Primary in their first year of robotics, similarly students achieving well in Primary can be bumped up to the Secondary league.



It takes approximately 12 months to prepare for the RCJV Championships which take place during July and August each year. As such, teams are formed a year in advance and intakes occur during September of each year once competitions have ended. If a large number of students wish to enrol, try-outs will be held to determine places. Students wishing to participate must be able to commit to one lunchtime and one after school session a week to complete the required workload.


Students gaining places in the Robotech program will receive a Robotech badge and will be entered in two RCJV events:

  • The Melbourne Regional event will take place on Saturday 28th July 2018, at St Michael’s Grammar School, St Kilda.
  • The Victorian State Championships will take place on Tuesday 14th August 2018, in the Engineering Department at The University of Melbourne, Parkville.

More information about these competitions will follow closer to the event.

Because the National Event is being held in Victoria this year, students also have the option of competing in the Nationals this year.

The National Event will be held at the Melbourne Park Function Centre October 5th to 7th 2018.







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