Children from schools across the East Midlands are taking their building skills into orbit at the regional heat of the global FIRST LEGO League tournament taking place at the University of Nottingham next week.
This year the theme is space and teams have been tasked with identifying a social or physical problem faced by humans during a long duration space exploration within our Sun’s solar system. They will need to research the problem, design the solution and then use their LEGO skills to create it. They will then present their projects on tournament day.
Dr Sam Tang, Public Awareness Scientist for the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham is organising the Nottingham tournament, she says: “Space is a fantastic theme for this year and should really capture the imagination of the schools taking part, who always impress us with their creativity and scientific knowledge. We’re also delighted to be joined by representatives from the National Space Centre who have agreed to be judges and give their expertise on the day. We can’t wait to see what the children come up with!”
There are 10 schools signed up to the event and the teams will also take part in ‘Robot Games’ using a mission materials pack they are provided with ahead of the tournament. Using LEGO Mindstorms robots they have designed and programmed they will race against the clock to complete the missions they have chosen, scoring points for the elements of each mission their robots successfully carry out.
The FIRST LEGO League is a global competition involving 80 countries and introduces a themed scientific and real-world challenge for teams of schoolchildren aged 9-16 to research.
This global event is coordinated in the UK and Ireland by The Institution of Engineering and Technology and allows children to apply science, technology, engineering, and maths concepts (STEM), alongside imagination, to solve a problem. Along their discovery journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills.
The day is judged by an expert panel of academics and students from the University and winners of the regional heat will go through to the UK and Ireland final and receive their own trophy built from LEGO . All participants will receive a medal to take home.