Students from the region took part in an IET FIRST® LEGO® League Tournament hosted by South Shields Museum and Art Gallery on Thursday 7th December. The tournament was the culmination of weeks of preparation, where students have worked in teams to design, build and programme a robot, and create an innovative solution to a real world problem. There are 45 IET FIRST® LEGO® League tournaments taking place across the UK and Ireland. These are fun and exciting events where the teams have to put their robot through its paces, and communicate their ideas, sharing what they have learnt with a team of judges.

In the 2017 FIRST®LEGO® League HYDRO DYNAMICSSM  Challenge– students age 9 to 16  learnt all about water – how we find, transport, use, or dispose of it. They will have to demonstrate their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication, as well as needing to demonstrate the FIRST® LEGO® League core values, which include respect and friendly competition.

Seven teams from South Tyneside and neighbouring areas took part on the day.    All the team members showed a great deal of commitment and enthusiasm for the projects they had worked on.  Many of the students made new friends, and all had a wonderful day.  Hebburn Savages from Hebburn Lakes Primary certainly enjoyed meeting new animal friends when they went to visit the snakes and spiders in the museum’s collection!

The event concluded with a nail biting robot game final between EC3 Bricks and Acer Lego Legends.  Acer Lego Legends hung on to their 5 point lead and carried away the trophy for Robot Game.  Other awards went to:

Mortimer Primary School – Mortimer Master Builders – Project Presentation Award

Harton Primary School – Harton Puzzlers – Core Values Award

Emmanuel College – EC3 Bricks – Robot Design Award

Oakwood  – Oakwood Eagles – Judges Special Award for All Round Excellence

There can only be one overall winner,  the team representing South Tyneside at the UK and Ireland Final in February in Bristol are St Grego’s Lego from St Gregory’s Primary School.  The team scored highly in all areas of the competition, and we wish them all the best.  They will now be working hard to raise the funds necessary to get them to the national finals.

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Mandy Workman, FIRST® LEGO® League IET Education Manager, said: “Students who take part in FIRST® LEGO® League this year will experience engineering in action. The programme brings enjoyment to STEM subjects as the students get hands-on experience with robotics, and designing innovative solutions. Developing computer programming, teamwork, problem-solving and communication skills has never been so much fun!

It’s a fact that the need for engineers has never been greater. The IET supports FIRST® LEGO® League, because it equips young people with the skills that they need to become future innovators and engineers. FIRST® LEGO® League is the world’s largest STEM competition with 32,000 teams in more than 80 countries and the IET are proud to be the operational partners for the programme in the UK and Ireland.

Winning teams from each regional tournament will take part in the UK and Ireland Final at the University of West of England (UWE) in February 2018. The top achieving teams at this final get the opportunity to represent their country and the IET on a  global stage, competing at International Championships in Hungary, Estonia and the USA  in 2018.”

FIRST® LEGO® League is part of a wider IET education programme, made up of a whole host of teaching resources and activities to inspire and attract the engineers of tomorrow.

For more information about this year’s FIRST® LEGO® League competition, please visit

Many thanks to Diane Gray and Ben Hudson from Community Arts Project North East – CAP NE for creating a video of our event which can be found here.


Code Club Christmas Meetup

Code Club are holding their Christmas meetup in Sunderland and teaming up with RTC North. If you are a teacher, an educator, a Code Club host or volunteer, or someone interested in getting involved with Code Club, then this event is for you!

This meetup will be a fun, friendly, informal space where you can meet like-minded members of the Code Club community, talk all things Code Club, and hear the latest updates about how Code Club are helping kids all over the North East to get coding.

If you’re new to Code Club or thinking about volunteering, this is also a great place to get started.

The event will include talks, demonstrations, and a chance to get hands-on with some digital making activities.

Confirmed speakers and demos so far are:

  • Anna Pearson -— Regional Coordinator (Code Club UK/Raspberry Pi Foundation)
  • Jonathan Sanderson — Digital Engagement and Making Specialist (NUSTEM)
  • Karen Marshall — Apprentice, Education and Engagement Lead (Accenture)
  • Lyndsey Britton — Founder, Tech for Life
  • Marty Edwards – Director, Learn It Compute It
  • Nick Cook – Senior Lecturer CAS/Newcastle University

The talks are a great opportunity to learn more about the North East tech community and about how individuals and organisations are engaging with young people and bridging the digital skills gap.

So come by, grab some complimentary mulled wine and a mince pie, and join the conversation!