Students from 8 schools across the North East demonstrated their science and technology skills this week at South Tyneside’s First Lego League (FLL) regional tournament. On Thursday 1st December this highly anticipated event took place at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery in Ocean Road, South Shields.
Each team, made up of 9 to 16 year olds, must design and program a LEGO MINDSTORMS or EV3 robot and then use it to solve problems and tasks. Teams were judged on their ability to build and programme the robot, their presentation and research skills and how well they co-operate with each other and their competitors. This year’s challenge required young people to identify a real-world situation of where animals and humans interact. They investigate their chosen animal and come up with an innovative solution to make that interaction better. Each school had twelve to sixteen weeks to prepare for the event, with over 40 regional tournaments taking place across the UK and Ireland over the next three months. The winners of the regional tournaments will go on to the FLL UK and Ireland Final, due to take place in February 2017.
Past regional champs Harton Puzzlers designed a cool app that tracked the whereabouts of red squirrels around the country, they also raised a cool £80 by selling badges to help finance their idea. These little entrepreneurs walked away with the award for best Teamwork as they demonstrated the core values of the FLL throughout the day.
Oakwood Eagles demonstrated some expert programming skills and had designed some effective adaptations to their robot to help them achieve their challenges. It was no wonder they were awarded the prize for Robot Design. Squirrels were again the animal of choice for EC3 Bricks in their research project, and they designed a humane trap that used colour recognition to identify the type of squirrel. Their enthusiasm and excellent presentation skills won them the Project Award.
Hebburn Lakes Octo Bots really got into the spirit of the day, their enthusiasm and excitement was catching. The judges loved their ideas about how to help injured horses, and their one off horse nappy design. They even had time for a spot of shopping in the Museum shop!
Techno Dotz from Dame Dorothy Primary were inspired by animal conservation in their research project and looked into how we can improve our interactions with bees. Their robot game started disappointingly but they kept trying and their hard work and perseverance saw their scores improve in each heat after that.
After really exciting semi-finals, Acer Lego Legends from Holley Park Academy and Team BG from Bernard Gilpin Primary School were sadly knocked out. The final was between Emmanuel Academy’s EC3 Bricks and the team from St Gregory’s, St Grego’s Lego. With the highest score in the first leg, St Grego’s Lego took the lead, EC3 Bricks fought back, but narrowly lost to St Gregory’s by a margin of only 3 points.
St Grego’s Lego were not finished yet, not only did they win the Robot Game, they were also crowned Regional Champions, their performance over all the different areas of the challenge was so strong, they will now go to the University of West of England (UWE), Bristol to represent us in the UK Finals.
For more information on FLL visit: www.firstlegoleague.co.uk.