28 February 2017
A team of young engineers from Cambridge has beaten off stiff competition to be crowned champions of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) FIRST® LEGO® League UK and Ireland competition.
The winning team - B6 Berrellium - is made up of six friends from two families in Royston and Cambridge. They were crowned champions at the competition final yesterday in Bristol. The runners-up were Tech HEds, a team of home-schooled students from Chippenham.
The teams will now be invited to compete in the FIRST® LEGO® League World Festival taking place in St. Louis, USA this April. Other prize category winners are invited to attend Open Championships, including the International Open Championship at the University of Bath in June, which will the first ever hosted in the UK.
FIRST® LEGO® League is a competition for 9-16 year olds, and tasks 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.
B6 Berrellium team member, Iona Berry, aged 12 said: “It was a brilliant event and we really enjoyed it. 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 get the overall champions award showed our project, core values and technical presentations were all good too. It’s going to be awesome to represent the UK and Ireland and compete with more than a hundred other teams in America. We can’t wait!”
Sandra Dymond, Tech HEds team coach, said: “It was a great experience competing against all the other regional winners. Our robot ran fantastically on the first run of the day and gave us a score which won us the Robot Performance award. Most of the other robot runs went well, and we ended up coming second in the robot knockouts. Our project presentation was engaging and conveyed the right information across. The overall result showed the great amount of work put in by all seven team members and one coach, and we are excited to be heading to an international competition in a few months.”
The event, hosted by CBBC presenter Fran Scott, was the largest ever FIRST® LEGO® League UK and Ireland final with nearly 500 young people attending who were all keen to demonstrate their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication.
IET President Jeremy Watson CBE said: “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.
“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.”
Other prizes awarded at the final included:
The Gadget Show presenter Jason Bradbury and local MPs Charlotte Leslie (Bristol North West) and Ben Howlett (Bath) also attended the event.
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 Mathematics (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 visit: www.firstlegoleague.co.uk.