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QMUL hosts First Lego League tournament for London schools

School children from across London competed to solve the world’s ‘trash’ problems as part of a FIRST® LEGO® League tournament hosted by the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Image of a group of boys getting involved in the First LEGO League tournament

At the event, held in January, seven teams developed and presented solutions to real-world waste issues and then battled it out for one of the coveted FIRST® LEGO® League trophies as they built and programmed Lego robots to complete recycling missions. The teams consisted of year seven and eight pupils from five schools: Paul’s Way Trust in Tower Hamlets, Colfe’s School in Greenwich, Greenford High School in Ealing, Sutton Grammar School in Sutton and Woodbridge School in Suffolk. In total there were more than 90 participants.

Inspiring ideas

The ‘trash’ challenge theme asked pupils to think about problems faced in waste management and to then present and design a solution. Ideas included special bins for electro-chemical batteries in the city of London, recycling bins for mobile electronics, used toy exchange shops in schools and special boxes of expired food (still edible) to reduce food waste. After presenting their project ideas, robot design and group workings to a panel of QMUL academics, the teams then set their Lego robots to complete tasks on a competition table including sorting recyclable items from non-recyclable items, composting and clearing plastic bags.

The winners

When all tasks were finished, it was the ‘Rubbish Runners’ team, the only independent team that competed, which won the overall Champions’ Award. Other trophies awarded included the Robot Games highest score to St Paul’s Way Trust, winner of Core Values to Sutton Grammar School, Best Project to Teckksupport from Greenford High School and Most Promising Robot to Robostormers from Colfe’s School. “The day started and ended with lots of energy and dedication by both visitors and organisers,” says Kok Ho Huen, Electronics Teaching Lab Manager at QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. “Students conducted themselves in the spirit of the FIRST® LEGO® League with everybody enjoying themselves and competing fairly and gracefully – in some cases even helping each other. It was a complete success!” The Rubbish Runners team has since returned from the European finals where they picked up a prize and were interviewed on London Live.

FIRST LEGO League helps young competitors to develop skills in design and technology, programming and control, mathematics, research, strategic thinking and teamwork. The IET is FIRST® LEGO® League’s UK and Ireland operational partner – for more information visit