Before the tournament, the team worked on three different areas:
- their project;
- building the lego (including designing a robot); and
- programming the robot.
The team had to identify a human problem or social problem faced during long duration space exploration within our Sun’s solar system and propose a solution. They were able to identify lots of problems and researched them before deciding to focus on the issue of space junk. Once satellites are no longer needed, they become space junk and can seriously harm astronauts or even the space ship itself. The children designed a satellite catcher to catch these useless satellites and bring them into the earth’s atmosphere to burn up. On the day they had to present their research, findings and information about how they had shared this to a group of 3 judges.
Building the lego
We spend many hours (and weeks) following the instructions to make all of the models for the challenges and work out what our robot needed to be able to do to complete the challenges.
Programming the robot
Once our robot was ready, we had to programme it to complete the different tasks. We chose to try the space travel, crater crossing and observatory missions. We nearly completed the extraction mission on the day, but didn't quite perfect it!
In addition to this work, we were developing our core values through all aspects of us working together. The FIRST Lego League website explains the core values as (from http://www.firstlegoleague.org/about-fll#block-block-13):
The FIRST LEGO League Core Values are the cornerstones of the program. They are among the fundamental elements that distinguish FIRST LEGO League from other programs of its kind. By embracing the Core Values, participants learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.
- We are a team.
- We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
- We know our coaches and mentors don't have all the answers; we learn together.
- We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
- What we discover is more important than what we win.
- We share our experiences with others.
- We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
- We have FUN!
We were very lucky to have Dr Hale (from Newcastle University) and Mr Hill helping out every week with our programming and project. They were even able to come along on the day of the competition and we cannot thank them enough.
Here are some of the photographs of us preparing.
On Thursday 24th January, we went to ENERGUS, Lilyhall to compete in our regional tournament. There were 20 teams taking part from local primary and secondary schools. In the morning we had three goes at the robot challenge against other teams (along with some extra refining of our programming between rounds). Our robot did really well, competing two challenges completely and nearly completing a third.
In the afternoon we were interviewed about our robot, then we presented our project to a group of judges before being tested on our Core Values.
The feedback we received from the judges was wonderful and we won the competition! This means that we are now invited to the national finals in Bristol! More details to follow!
All of the children worked really hard as a group and were a credit to themselves and the school.