11 May 2016
A team of home educated students from across London who came second at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) UK and Ireland final have gone on to win an Innovation Award for their project at the FLL Open European Championship in Tenerife.
FLL, a global science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) challenge aimed at 9-16 year olds, tasks teams to solve real world problems with the help of a robot. This year’s challenge, which was announced across the world last August, required young people to identify a real-world problem in the way that waste is dealt with, investigate it and come up with an innovative solution. They also had to design, build and program an autonomous LEGO MINDSTORMS robot to tackle a series of waste-related missions.
The award winning team ‘The Rubbish Runners’ impressed judges in Tenerife with their innovative project, which involved reducing cigarette litter outside train stations by creating a bin that incentivises people to dispose of cigarettes correctly rather than on the floor by entering them into a lottery for free travel.
The team includes brothers Elye Cuthbertson (age 11) and Aaron Cuthbertson (age 14, both from Willesden Green), Oliver Langton (age 16 from Richmond) and Kyran Richards (age 13 from Burnham).
Ilana King, the team’s coach, said: "Representing the UK at the Open European Championships in Tenerife was an unforgettable experience for the team. To compete against 87 teams from around the world and win an award for Innovative Solution for their project idea was a monumental achievement and deserved recognition for the work they have put in over the last eight months. Their innovative solution to the problem of cigarette litter has received praise from many quarters and the team is now exploring ways to take it forwards into reality."
Richard Pering, Education Manager for FIRST LEGO League at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, added: “It’s fantastic that the Rubbish Runners have been recognised at the European finals with their innovative project – they should be very proud of themselves.
“The IET runs competitions like the FIRST LEGO League in order to show young people how creative, exciting and rewarding engineering can be. In order to tackle the engineering skills gap we need more graduates to enter the profession, and this can only happen if more school-age children are attracted to, and choose to study STEM subjects – competitions like FLL are therefore vital.”
The IET is FLL’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: http://firstlegoleague.theiet.org/.
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