Lego robot contest win leads to dreams of hi-tech success

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YOUNGSTERS from across the region have shown that when it comes to robotics, they certainly know what they’re talking about.

At a robotics competition at the University of Portsmouth, school students showcased robots that they have been working on since the start of the academic year, which were then put through their paces in a number of challenges.

One of the robots   Picture: Habibur Rahman (171665-102)

One of the robots Picture: Habibur Rahman (171665-102)

The robots were given tasks that the pupils had programmed into them, such as pushing and pulling objects.

But these weren’t just ordinary robots – these bots were built out of Lego, as part of the regional qualifier for the First Lego League.

This year’s winners, Meon Junior School from Portsmouth, will be advancing to the national leg of the competition, which is taking place in Bristol.

Joseph Mahmud, age 10, said: ‘Our robot has had to do a lot of different tasks.

Meon Junior School with their robot Picture: Habibur Rahman (171665-092)

Meon Junior School with their robot Picture: Habibur Rahman (171665-092)

‘There was one challenge where we had to make rain come down by activating a switch.

‘We are all really happy that we won, and can’t wait to go to Bristol.

‘If we win that we can go to the international competition, which would be really great fun.’

Jackie Kershaw was the teacher who oversaw the project at Meon Junior School.

She said: ‘The children started designing the robot in September – they started by designing it to complete the simple challenges before developing it further.

‘The children aren’t actually in the same classes so weren’t necessarily friends with one another before we started this – so it has been a really good teambuilding exercise and they have been really supportive of one another.

‘If we do really well at the national competition we could be jetting off across the world, so the children are incredibly excited about that.’

The university’s outreach co-ordinator David Hill said: ‘This is the first leg of an international competition, with 82 countries taking part this year.

‘This is the third year in a row that Meon Junior School has won, but it is getting closer every year.

‘The STEM subjects work very closely together and this competition not only demonstrates that, but also allows pupils to improve soft skills like communication and teamwork.

‘Next year’s theme is space and orbit, which we already have close links with here at the university – so we are already looking forward to that.’