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Local schools take part in UK robotic LEGO®challenge

More than 60 school pupils from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight took part in an IET FIRST® LEGO® League Tournament at the University of Portsmouth this week.

Pupils from Meon Juniors put their robot through its paces.

The tournament was the culmination of weeks of preparation, where pupils worked in teams to design, build and programme a robot, and create an innovative solution to a real world problem.

The event on Wednesday (20 December) was one of 45 IET FIRST® LEGO® League tournaments that are taking place across the UK and Ireland. These are fun and exciting events where the teams have to put their robot through its paces, and communicate their ideas, sharing what they have learnt with the judges.

Pupils aged 9 to 16 from six schools and one after school club had to build a robot using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® kit that they program to autonomously complete a series of missions on a specialised field and to score as many points as possible.

A team from Meon Junior were the overall winners of the competition for the third year running.

Organiser David Hill, Technology Outreach Coordinator at the University, said: “This event is a great chance to show how diverse, creative, and fun engineering can be.  It is really exciting to help support schools and colleges in developing the next generation – the pipeline – for the future. The skills that these pupils develop, such as working in multi-disciplinary teams, applying problem solving and creative thinking, are just the skills that we think a Portsmouth student should have.”

The event is a great chance to show how diverse, creative, and fun engineering can be.

In the 2017 FIRST®LEGO® League HYDRO DYNAMICSSM  Challenge, the students learnt all about water – how we find, transport, use, or dispose of it. They had to demonstrate their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication, as well as needing to demonstrate the FIRST® LEGO® League core values, which include respect and friendly competition.

Mandy Workman, FIRST® LEGO® League IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) Education Manager, said: “Students who take part in FIRST® LEGO® League this year will experience engineering in action. The programme brings enjoyment to STEM subjects as the students get hands-on experience with robotics, and designing innovative solutions. Developing computer programming, teamwork, problem-solving and communications skills has never been so much fun.

“It’s a fact that the need for engineers has never been greater. The IET supports FIRST® LEGO® League, because it equips young people with the skills that they need to become future innovators and engineers. FIRST® LEGO® League is the world’s largest STEM competition with 32,000 teams in more than 80 countries and the IET are proud to be the operational partners for the programme in the UK and Ireland.”

The winning team from Meon Juniors will now take part in the UK and Ireland Final at the University of West of England (UWE) on 24 February 2018. The top achieving teams at this final get the opportunity to represent their country at the International Championships in Hungary, Estonia and the USA in 2018.

For more information about this year’s FIRST® LEGO® League competition, please visit

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