For a bunch of Buxton Community School students who are also Lego enthusiasts, what started as a simple after school club has evolved into national recognition and an opportunity to take part in an international festival.
The school Lego club has 25 members ranging from Year 7-10 with an equal mix of boys and girls. Guided by First Lego League (FLL)*, an International Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) project, run by The Institute of Engineering and Technology, the club members have achieved some major successes over the last few months.
Julie Carr, who is Technolgy Technician at the school and also runs the club, explained more: “In December, we entered three teams into the regional heats of FLL at Sheffield University. They all did very well and had a fantastic day but the team ‘STEV3’ did particularly well. They won the Robot Challenge by quite a margin, resulting in two trophies and a place in the national finals at Bristol University. Then last month, eight students attended the finals, where STEV3 competed against 53 other regional winners from all over the UK. It was an incredible day which we all enjoyed immensely. We were spurred on by our team t-shirts which were kindly sponsored by local company Tarmac.”
“After a tense wait at the award ceremony, with no idea at all as to how the team had done, they were ecstatic to discover that they had won the Robot Design award, which was presented to them by Ozak Esu, the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year.”
Graham Cooper, General Manager for Tarmac’s Lime business added: “As a company which promotes STEM subjects as a gateway into a range of careers, it was a real pleasure to be able to support this talented bunch of students. We are delighted to hear how popular this club is and to hear of the teams’ successes. We look forward to hearing how the STEV3 team gets on in the world event.”
Out of the 610 teams that originally entered, STEV3 and Buxton Community School are now one of only 12 teams chosen to represent the UK on the global stage when they attend the First Lego League World Festival later this year, either in Detroit or Estonia.
*Guided by adult Coaches, FLL teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy etc. and are challenged to develop a solution. They must also design, build and program a robot, then compete on a table-top playing field. In doing this, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, programming and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions to a panel of judges. They also practice the Programs signature Core Values where the School is observed throughout the day and are basically judged on how nice they are. There is also a heavy emphasis on having fun!
It has been proven that the positive impact FLL has on students means that over 88% are more interested in doing well at school and 87% have more interest in attending further education. There are also many more benefits such as confidence gain, increased communication and organisational skills, making new friends and a very genuine pride in what they achieve.
Photo caption: The team receive their trophy from Ozak Esu, the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year. (centre)