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Budding young engineers crowned FIRST® LEGO® League UK champions

A team of young engineers from Cambridge beat off stiff competition to win the IET’s FIRST® LEGO® League UK and Ireland competition.

Picture of First Lego League winners

Crowned champions at February’s UK and Ireland final, winning team B6 Berrellium is made up of six friends from two families in Royston and Cambridge. The runner-up award went to Tech HEds, a team of home-schooled students from Chippenham, Wiltshire. FIRST® LEGO® League is a competition for 9-16 year olds, tasking teams to build a robot to tackle a series of missions, and to develop a creative solution to a problem they have identified through research. This year both robot game and research project explored animal-human interaction. The UK and Ireland final, held at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol and hosted by CBBC Presenter Fran Scott, was the largest to date. Nearly 500 young people attended, all keen to demonstrate their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication. Visitors also included Gadget Show Presenter Jason Bradbury and local MPs Charlotte Leslie and Ben Howlett.

Hard work pays off

“It was a brilliant event and we really enjoyed it,” says B6 Berrellium team member Iona Berry, aged 12. “We were looking forward to the chance to meet the other teams and see if all our hard work would pay off. It was fantastic to win the robot knockout competition, and getting the overall Champions Award showed our project, core values and technical presentations were all good too.” Having taken the top prize, B6 Berrellium were invited to compete in the FIRST® LEGO® League World Festival in St. Louis, USA in April, where the school pupils took second place in the Strategy and Innovation Robot Design Award. All category winners from the UK final were also invited to attend June’s International Open Championship, which was hosted for the first time in the UK at the University of Bath. 700 students from 35 countries battled it out, with the Champions Award going to SESI Jedi’s from Brazil. Robot Rebels from the UK and the Robo Riders from Ireland were proud recipients of a Judge’s Award.

Inspirational initiative

FIRST® LEGO® League is not just a robotics competition, it is a unique educational opportunity for young people to pursue their ideas and collaborate with businesses and organisations from the world outside school as they develop innovative solutions to problems they have identified in real world issues,” says IET President Jeremy Watson. “IET initiatives like this show young people how creative, exciting and rewarding careers in engineering can be. In order to tackle the engineering skills gap we need more graduates and apprentices to enter the profession, and this can only happen if more school-age children – girls as well as boys – are attracted to, and choose to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. Competitions like FIRST® LEGO® League are therefore vital.”

UK and Ireland Final Awards

Project Award: Bookworms, St. Peter’s Church of England Primary School, Saltburn-by-the-Sea
Runner up: Team M.A.R.T.I.N, Wallace Hall Academy, Dumfriesshire

Robot Design Award: Team Lightning, Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, Camarthenshire
Runner-up: Robot Rebels, Widcombe C of E Junior School, Bath

Core Values Award: Lego Workshop Wonders, Magherafelt High School, Northern Ireland
Runner-up: Maynard Wine Gums, Maynard School, Exeter

Robot Performance Award: Tech HEds, home-schooled pupils from Chippenham
Runner-up: Ennerdale Engineers, Ennerdale & Kinniside Primary School, Cumbria

Judges Awards: Little Lauder Lego Legends (Lauder, Berwickshire), De-Trasher- Fiers (London), Super Scotty Bears (Newburgh Primary School, Cupar, Fife), Egni (Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd, St Asaph)
MPs Prize: CTRL X, Notting Hill and Ealing High School, Ealing, London

Bechtel Safety Award: Wistow Whales, Orton Wistow Primary School, Peterborough
Host Venue (UWE) Innovation Award: Bees NXTs, St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Primary, Bristol

The IET is FIRST® LEGO® League’s UK and Ireland operational partner. Supporting the competition is part of the IET’s commitment to show young people the benefits of careers within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). FIRST® LEGO® League helps young competitors to develop skills in design and technology, programming and control, mathematics, research, strategic thinking and teamwork. For more information please visit www.firstlegoleague.co.uk.