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Kirsty Judges at the FIRST LEGO League Competition in Inverness

Posted by Kirsty Pryer - Calico UK - 15:15 on 04 February 2020

As part of my role as a STEM Ambassador I was able to volunteer for another event, on Saturday 1st February, up at the UHI Campus in Inverness.  This time it was the turn of ESP Scotland to host a FIRST LEGO League competition for youngsters in the area.  On the day 4 teams had entered robots, and associated project work, to compete to win a place at the Scottish Championships in Perth.  Teams had come along from Alness Academy (ACE), Holm Primary School (The Holmies) and 2 lego clubs run by Skills Development Scotland in Inverness (Urban Legends and Ness-e-city).

Checking out the Cityshaper map before juding started

Both myself and Julian Hollingdale of Tilhill Forestry were there as Tech Ambassadors and were given the task of judging the Robot Design category. This meant looking at the physical design, such as durability, mechanical efficiency and mechanisation. We also had to judge the programming used and how that affected automation and navigation of the robots, plus the team's strategies and design processes.

Julian and I putting the teams through their paces

Other aspects the teams were assessed on were an Innovation Project and their team's Core Values.  The event has a real focus on working as a team and good sportsmanship with the other teams competing. 

The Robot Games competition table

Clearly everyone is having a great time!

The second half of the day was spent with the teams as they took part in Robot Games where their robot had a variety of possible obstacles and tasks to carry out on a Cityshape map. The tasks carried various point scores, which together with the rest of the days categories lead to teams being awarded a series of trophies. 

Crane obstacle with lever and blocks to move

The robot had to knock the back arm out to make the swing move

I was overwhelmed by how much work had gone into the robot design, projects and programming by all of the teams and it was very difficult to separate them during the juding process. It was a lot harder than I'd expected.

Recognition of all the work that went into the competition

Two teams, Urban Legends and Ness-e-city, will now progress to the games in Perth, along with other Scottish regional winners, and perhaps some wildcard teams.  I might even get the chance to go along to Perth myself!  If I don't see the teams in Perth I'd like to wish them all the very best of luck! - Kirsty

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