FLL 2016 Animal Allies Final

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.


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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.



Reading Hack

We are working with South Tyneside libraries staff to run this years Reading Hack.

Reading Hack turns reading on its head. Create your own hacks, meet new people, get skills and inspire others to read. If you’re aged 12 to 16 get involved, make hacks and do some volunteering.

A hack is an activity with reading at its heart. This could be anything from a poetry-themed DJ set or novel-inspired Minecraft, to book-related film making or helping others to read.

This launches on Thursday 17th November 2016 at 4:00pm.

Check out the Reading Hack website for more details and to book your place contact Pauline Martin at The Word, the National Centre for the Written Word.


reading hack flier

Fab Lab Fun

We have had some great maker sessions using the new Fab Lab facilities in The Word, the National Centre for the Written Word.

Toner Avenue Year 6 created some gorgeous poppy badges to honour Armistice Day and Dame Dorothy Primary and Fellgate Primary year 4 students have created some stunning snowflake Christmas tree decorations.

We designed these using Inkscape and used our laser cutters to create a range of beautiful unique items.

We will be hosting some sessions over the Christmas holidays where families can have a go at making their own decorations in the Fab Lab.

Check out the What’s On section of The Word website for booking information.

#theworduk #fablab #openzone

What a fabulous day we had at the official opening of The Word, The National Centre for the Written Word.

Many thanks to the students and teachers of year 6 from St Bede’s RC Primary School for making it such a fun day.
We have built, programmed, explored, sung and danced!

We even had some special visitors from Hogwarts!

#openzone, #thewordUK, #Lego #coding


We were joined by  comedian and author David Baddiel and author Ann Cleeves who were very excited about The Word and thought it was a fantastic building.

Pokemon Go

We have had this message from South Tyneside Council we thought we’d share with you.

Mobile gamers using Pokémon Go are reminded not to put their own safety in danger.

The new mobile game app has been sweeping the nation and sending messages to gamers telling them where to find Pokémon. However, some of the locations of the virtual creatures are located in places which could see the user potentially put themself in danger

The NSPCC has also released a guide for parents to keep children safer whilst playing on the app: NSPCC: Pokemon Go Parent’s Guide