This summer, KARMA had two teams participate in the Zero Robotics challenge. Started by MIT, Zero Robotics is an online robotics programming competition where the robots are SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) inside the International Space Station (ISS). Teams program the SPHERES to solve an annual challenge. After several phases of virtual competition in a simulation environment that mimics the real SPHERES, finalists are selected to compete in a live championship with an astronaut aboard the ISS.
Twelve middle-school students from the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni Nations participated in the 6-week competition and divided into two teams. The Navajo students formed one team while the Hopi and Zuni students form another.
The teams had collaborated with each other and folks in their community. The Navajo Nation team took on the responsibility of providing the students from both teams with online and hybrid instruction. Two Saint Michaels Indian School (SMIS) high school students participated as instructor-helpers along with three teachers. In addition, multiple teachers from Little Singer Community School and some parents helped out.
Both teams divided into groups that each worked on separate parts of the code. In the end, the students hard work resulted in extra code and that they were able to enter as a third team. In the competition, the ZR Rebels took first place in the first half of the competition and finished forth overall.