03 July 2017
Teams from 36 countries have battled it out in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) FIRST® LEGO® League International Open Championship at the University of Bath, and sponsored by Bechtel.
Over 700 children aged 9-16 took part in the four-day STEM challenge in June, the first time it was held in the UK.
Teams taking part were challenged to build a robot using LEGO that could successfully tackle a series of missions, each representing a different aspect of animal-human interaction. The students were required to demonstrate their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication, demonstrating the FIRST® LEGO® League core values, which include respect and inclusion.
A number of awards were up for grabs, including:
Mandy Workman, IET Education Manager - FIRST® LEGO® League, said: “This competition is a fantastic way of inspiring the next generation of engineers and nurturing the relevant skills they need for the modern engineering workplace. Young people that took part also had an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with businesses as they developed innovative solutions to problems they have identified as real-world issues.
“We hear regularly about STEM skills shortages and gaps and the Institution of Engineering and Technology is passionate about highlighting to young people the excitement and creativity of engineering through the FIRST® LEGO® League competition. We were especially pleased that more than a third of the students in this competition were female.”
Managing Director of Bechtel U.K, Paul Gibbs said: “We must improve diversity in engineering. Incredibly, only 9 per cent of engineers in the U.K are women - Bechtel employs double that but we’re aiming for equality. Where we work on Crossrail, 30% of our engineers are women. Our industry needs to get more actively involved in programmes like FIRST® LEGO® League to help young people understand the fantastic careers available to engineers and the impact that engineering can have on people’s lives, the environment, economies and communities.”
The event coincided with International Women in Engineering Day (Friday 23 June) during which the University of Bath hosted around 80 aspiring female engineers from local schools to find out more and experience a taste of what it is like to study an engineering discipline at university. As part of their visit to Bath, the budding female engineers heard from current female engineering students and staff, take part in a number of fun and challenging engineering-related tasks, and met a number of the competing students at the FIRST® LEGO® League International Open Championship.
For more information, visit http://firstlegoleague.theiet.org/