Year 8 Girls’ Team Compete in FIRST® LEGO® League STEM Challenge

A team of Year 8 girls presented live to a panel of judges earlier this morning as part of their entry into the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge.

The FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge develops STEM learning in children aged 9-16, inspiring young people to develop their critical thinking, coding and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics.

The 7-strong team of Isla, Molly, Meredith, Emelia, Tabitha, Amelie and Chloe, have all met on numerous occasions after school in preparation for today, researching for both aspects of the competition – the Robot Game and the Innovation Project.

Isla and Chloe testing the team robot

Mr Johnson, Teacher of Computer Science at Penrice, said:

“We are actively trying to get more girls into STEM and Computer Science, not just here at Penrice, but nationally. We decided to take part in this competition as Key Stage 3 is where we can lay the foundations, teaching essential skills like coding and critical thinking.”

The girls first delivered their presentation on clean water, demonstrating how technical innovation can lead to major breakthroughs benefitting the whole world.

Team member Chloe said:

“I feel we did really well. We were all very worried during rehearsals; I was panicking all breaktime today, but now we have done it we have overcome our fears and feel a lot more confident.”

She added:

“We all took it in turns to speak to the judges and answer any questions they had and we all spoke an even amount.”

The Year 8 girls’ team presenting to the judging panel

The presentation was followed by a live robot test, showcasing a Lego robot the girls had hand-built and programmed to complete specific tasks, such as emptying Lego cargo containers.

Isla, one of the robot programmers, highlighted the difficulty of the project and said:

“There was lots of testing during the coding. Trying to get the robot to stop when it detected an object on its sensor was a real challenge. When we figured it out it was a real breakthrough, ‘eureka’ moment for the team! Programming a robotic arm to move up and down was another big test for all of us.”

The team’s robot in action

Mr Johnson finished by saying:

“The girls have done brilliantly. We have all been working together for a number of weeks and to see the end product today is fantastic. The girls have shown great resilience too; the burst water pipe yesterday meant that they lost crucial preparation time, yet they have all remained level-headed and worked tirelessly this morning to catch up and be ready for the judges – great determination.”

Judges’ Feedback

Confidence was brilliant and the knowledge of their design exceeded expectations.

Girl Power!!

Minimal input from teachers. Pupils knew exactly what they were talking about!

Thank You

Finally, a big thank you must go to Soroptimist International – St Austell for their support in sponsoring our team in this competition.