Schoolchildren build robots
Children from schools in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex have take part in a robotics programme and competition for 9-16 year olds, designed to excite children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The First Lego League (FLL) regional tournament was the idea of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the first event was hosted by National Instruments in Newbury.
According to the organisers, the aim is to encourage students from primary and secondary school into science and engineering.
The children deployed their robots to address a real-world challenge on the game tables, showcasing their creativity, technical skills and enthusiasm with topics such as a volcano eruption, zombie apocalypse and a plan to minimise forest fire devastation.
Each team was tasked with three challenges, judged by NI employees: a robot game, where pre-programmed robots moved around the FFL table to complete tasks for points; a presentation about their project; together with a demonstration of their team working skills.
“From building better medical devices to providing renewable energy, engineers will play an important role in improving our future. As such, the current global deficit of engineering talent is a big problem for society,” said Robert Morton, managing director, National Instruments UK & Ireland.
“First Lego League provides children with a real insight into the wonderful world of engineering. On the run up to the event, the student teams had to identify a real-world problem, before combining software and hardware to create a solution. That is exactly what many professional engineers do every day,” said Morton.
The winning team, Abingdon School from Oxfordshire, is now through to the national finals, where the UK winner will proceed to compete in the global tournament, held in the US later this year.