Taitoko School's two teams made the regional semifinals of the EPro8 Challenge this year.

And the Year 7 and 8 team reached the regional grand final, held recently in Palmerston North.

Taitoko's Year 7/Year 8 team was made up of: Ryan Winstanley, Owen Winstanley, Blake Teiwimate, Tyrese Moore with Talosaga Iakopo as reserve.

The Year 5/Year 6 team was made up of Maximus King, Zavier Robertson, Vanele Aleke, Kwong logologo, with Riley Lawrence as reserve.

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Taitoko School year 7 and 8 team in the finals for this year's EPro8 Challenge.
Taitoko School year 7 and 8 team in the finals for this year's EPro8 Challenge.

Both teams came second in the local semifinals, but only one made the regional grand final.

At the grand final the team of four had to engineer things, such as something to count wheel rotations, or to count the number of balls that fill a ball pit.

The Year 7 and 8 team progressed to the grand final and was one of 12 teams competing. They had come second in the Levin challenge and made fourth in the semis, where the Year 5 and 6 team were 10th.

"They had to compete against much bigger schools with lots of facilities and equipment and even some staff from around Wanganui-Manawatū," said Rosa Casanelia, who is one of the school's two science teachers.

It was the second time the school took part in the challenge.

Taitoko School year 7 and 8 team working on one of their projects for this year's EPro8 Challenge.
Taitoko School year 7 and 8 team working on one of their projects for this year's EPro8 Challenge.

The boys had to perform a number of challenges and had to choose five to do. They made a pacman and a space alien, among others.

The space invaders alien took them one and a half hours to build and got them an extra point for difficulty. Sadly for them their pacman broke when they tried to put it upright. They reckoned the bracing wasn't strong enough and the joints weren't strong enough to hold it up, so they know how to fix it.

Team captain Ryan had done the challenge before at a previous school he attended, so that was beneficial for the team, but the collapsed project meant they came 10th, while at the regional semis they'd made fourth place.

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Cheri Chajadhar and Rosa Casanelia have been teaching science at Taitoko for the past two years and were encouraged by their principal to enter the challenge last year.

"Projects like this encourage kids to get involved and it is great to see the enjoyment they get out of it.

"It is a great problem solving event and is wonderful for kids who are good at maths and it teaches them cooperation and how to make decisions as a team," Rosa said. "Both teams are a great credit to us."

Some of the material they had to use.
Some of the material they had to use.