The FIRST LEGO League Challenge is a major event in the calendar at St. Margaret’s Preparatory School. Every year a global STEM challenge is set for 9-16 year olds. It encourages teams of young people to have an interest in real-world themes and develop key skills for their future careers.
The challenge this year was called ‘Cargo Connect’. It involved investigating how goods are moved around the world and how we can improve things for the future.
After months of preparation, our team, ‘Cargo Collective’, headed over to Bristol for the regional heats where we competed against many schools, including many senior schools. The day was intense and demanding but the team took it all in their stride! The tournament engages teams of children in ‘hands-on’ design related to the programming and testing of an autonomous robot. This is coupled with a research project and presentation of the results before a panel of judges taken from industry and academia.
The research project set a challenge to find innovative solutions to transportation problems. The team looked at packaging and ways to maximise the space in containers. Their final solution used hexagons as a space efficient container; an idea often seen in nature. The team presented beautifully, even including a jingle and the judges asked many questions which the team answered in clear detail.
The robotics side of the competition went really well and the team gained 195 pts – higher than they had scored in any of their practice attempts. An important part of the day is also the ‘Core Values’ aspect of the competition and this involved how the team interact with other teams as well as how they work together as a team. ‘Cargo Collective’ were very much a team to be admired and they showed many examples of the ‘Gracious Professionalism’ that the judges were looking for.
The team were excited as the day drew to a close and we waited patiently as the various awards were presented. We were delighted to be presented with one of the major awards, ‘The Most Enthusiastic Team Award’ by the sponsors ‘Rowden Technologies’. It was so special to have months of hard work and dedication recognised at the tournament.
Robyn and Jem, two of our team members gave us their insights of the day:
“We were nervous at the start but the day ended up being a once in a lifetime opportunity. We enjoyed it all, but our favourite part was watching the robot completing the missions. We were very proud of what we did as we were one of the youngest teams there on the day.”
The team returned to St .Margaret’s to some very proud and delighted parents and teachers!