A team of young engineers from Bath, Somerset, have been crowned champions of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) FIRST® LEGO® League England and Wales Final.
The winning team – Combat Wombats – was one of two teams from Freshford Church School, Bath that made it to the National Final. Combat Wombats is made up of a team of 10 boys and girls aged 9-10 years old.
They were crowned champions at the competition final on Saturday in Harrogate and will now have the opportunity to represent England on the global stage at the FIRST World Festival, which will be held in Houston, USA, in April.
The science and technology challenge, which is aimed at 9-16 year olds, tasks teams to build a robot to tackle a series of missions, and create an innovative solution to a real world problem. This year’s competition is called CARGO CONNECT℠ and is all about exploring how cargo is transported to different destinations around the world. Teams were tasked with designing a solution to making transporting cargo more efficient and making sure they have lots of fun in the process!
The team’s winning solution is an innovative idea of a kerbside tunnel system that could be made from recycled materials that allowed automated delivery trucks to securely drop off parcels to reduce the environmental impact of the ‘last mile’.
Combat Wombats team member, Hans, said: “The day was amazing and we had such fun, we still can’t believe we have won the whole competition against so many teams.”
Combat Wombats team coach, Clive Seager, said: “The children have worked extremely hard on their project and LEGO robot design in their weekly after-school club. I am very proud of the way this very young team performed at both the regional heats and the national final, showingcasing their skills amongst the many other strong teams taking part.”
The runners-up were another South-West primary school team, Cargonauts from Heywood Prep in Corsham.
Lucy Owen, IET FIRST® LEGO® League Education Manager, said: “FIRST® LEGO® League allows young people to experience engineering in action. As well as bringing excitement to STEM subjects, the students get hands-on experience with robotics and designing innovative solutions to real world problems. Developing computer programming, teamwork, problem-solving and communications skills has never been so much fun and gives students an insight into the creative and innovative careers that engineering presents.
“There is a great need for young people with STEM skills to fill the next generation of engineering roles and I know first-hand that there are bright young engineering minds in FIRST® LEGO® League. I’d like to congratulate our winners and all the finalists.”
Returning as an in-person event for the first time in two years following the Covid-19 pandemic, the FIRST® LEGO® League England and Wales final saw over 500 young people and 510 spectators, team coaches and VIPs attending, who were all keen to demonstrate their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication.
The IET is proud to be the FIRST® LEGO® League’s UK and Ireland operational partner. Supporting the competition is part of the IET’s commitment to show young people the benefits of careers within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).