31 January 2013
Students from King Edward’s School and Ralph Allen School in Bath have won a place at the World FIRST LEGO league (FLL) festival in St Louis, USA after being named champions at the national final on Saturday (January 26).
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) was enlisted for the first time this year as operating partner of FIRST LEGO league in the UK. After hosting a number of regional heats across the UK, the competition came to an end at the national final at Loughborough University on Saturday.
The winning team - called ‘Untitled 1’ - included three boys and four girls from two schools in Bath. The winning trophy and medals were presented by the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year, Yewande Akinola.
The nine students, aged 11-15, will have to raise over £10,000 after winning a trip to the World FLL Festival in St. Louis in April. They hope to do this through bake sales, bag packing at supermarkets and washing cars. They are also looking for support from local businesses.
Seventeen-year-old Sam Mason is a King Edward’s sixth-former and the team’s coach. He said: “The whole team are very excited about going to the USA, and have been looking up St. Louis and all the information that is available about the World Festival.
“I gained such a lot from competing in the FLL competition [in previous years] – presentation skills, team work, problem solving and self-esteem. Competing in the FLL gave me confidence, made me a better communicator, team player and has helped me not to be afraid to try new things.
“I have since seen my two brothers similarly benefit from the FLL experience. I am now too old to compete in the FLL but wanted to give something back.”
Ahmed Kotb, FLL Project Manager at the IET, said: “The final was an incredible event showing some unbelievable talent in students as young as 9. The judges had a hard time trying to decide between such innovative projects, but Untitled 1 really excelled in each of the judging areas.”
This year’s theme, entitled ‘Senior Solutions’, tasked each team with designing an innovative product to make life easier for elderly people. All teams also had to build a robot to complete a number of tasks in a live competition.
Their award-winning senior solution was a fingerprint-recognition doorbell which was able to inform elderly people through a screen display who was at the door. The team decided upon this idea following extensive research among elderly people and organisations like Age UK.
Although they missed the opportunity to go to St Louis, the runners up (Simon Langton Boys Grammar School, Canterbury) will be travelling to Germany for the Open European Championships in May. Nine other awards were presented that recognised creativity, core values and design.