Penpol Compete at RNAS Culdrose in the FIRST LEGO League

Last week we took two teams to the Cornwall Finals of the FIRST LEGO League, held at RNAS Culdrose. We have our team of Year 5’s – the Electric LEGO Legends (who were competing for the first time) and our returning team of Year 6’s – the Penpol Pumpkins.

Because of some logistical issues with getting 19 children to Culdrose on the same day we ended up taking one team each day (with the kind help of Hayle Academy letting us share their minibus!).  The Electric LEGO Legends were up first, on Wednesday 8th March.  What they didn’t know was that this was the secondary school day and they were up against 12 other schools – mostly secondaries!

On the Thursday we then took our Year 6’s up to Culdrose where they took part in the competition against 24 other schools!

What follows below is a peek at each day, sharing news of each teams Innovation Project, Robot Games and lots of other fun things they explored on the day…

 

Part 1: Robot Games

The Robot games is a fun challenge where the children have to design, build and code their very own robot to complete different missions. There is a maximum of 410 points on offer this year and a score of anything over 200 is considered exceptionally good - especially for primary teams!

Electric LEGO Legends

The team had a clear strategy of getting some quick points on the board with the TV and Wind Turbine missions, before heading out to try and achieve some more complex missions too.  They had three attempts to get their best score in just two and a half minutes!

When the final run was over the team were triumphant with their highest score being 205 points.  This stayed the top score for the whole day until the very last team, Nexus, who deployed their  incredibly nifty robot which scored an astounding 260 points on its run!

205

Round 1

145

Round 2

160

Round 3

The Penpol Pumpkins

The Pumpkins have used the same robot they took to the competition last year, meaning they spent longer working on the code itself rather than building a new robot.  They managed to complete almost every mission, but had to cut this right back to fit inside the two and a half minute timeframe.

Over the three runs the children had a high-score of 240 points, thanks to some super-quick work in switching the attachments and a perfect lineup for several of the trickier missions.  They very nearly came top of the charts in the robot games, save for an incredibly exciting final run from Darite School who pipped us to the post with a stunning score of 245.

190

Round 1

240

Round 2

180

Round 3

Part 2: Innovation Project

The Innovation Project is a chance for the children to identify a problem linked to the annual theme (Energy for this season) before researching, creating, refining and presenting their own innovative solution. This takes the form of a five minute presentation to the judges and a ten minute question and answer session afterwards.

Electric LEGO Legends

The Electric LEGO Legends have been exploring electricity this year and how we can use renewable sources of energy rather than non-renewables.  They initially took a keen interest in electric cars and considered basing a project around that, but eventually settled on an idea of building sustainable houses by including a vertical wind turbine alongside a pair of houses.

The judges enjoyed the teams presentation and praised the enthusiasm and interest shared by the team whilst they gave their presentation.  They also loved how the team had consulted with experts in the field and how they’d reflected honestly on the project they’ve created thus far.

The team scored a very credible 32 points out of a total of 40 for their project and received a lot of positive comments from the industry judges.

32 points

out of a total of 40

The Penpol Pumpkins

The Penpol Pumpkins were inspired by the day after Halloween and how many pumpkins are left on door steps to rot and then eventually get thrown in landfill.  They soon realised that it wasn’t only pumpkins that were thrown away in the rubbish – in fact 35% of all black bin bags in Cornwall contain food waste!

Their presentation was focussed on the idea of promoting the upcoming Cornwall Council Food Waste collection by creating an advertising campaign to encourage people to recycle food rather than sending it to landfill.

Having learnt from last years performance, the team opted to deliver their presentation as a play where they all took on different roles.  Having seen these children last year and then again at Culdrose, the difference is quite simply staggering.  The judges agreed and awarded the Pumpkins 39 points out of 40. Incredible!

39 points

out of a total of 40

Part 3: Robot Design Presentation

The last part of the competition was the Robot Design Presentation. This name is slightly deceptive as it isn’t just about the robot that the teams have built. Yes it is largely about this, but it is also a chance to share the story that the children have been on since starting their journey in the competition. This is a chance to share their learnings, their new skills, their strategies, plans and anything else that they want to with the judges.

Electric LEGO Legends

For this presentation the team took an innovative approach and based it around an ‘interview-style’ format where the team asked each other questions about their robot, the way it was coded and how they approached each mission.

This presentation proved really interesting as it allowed the children to share lots of relevant information and impressed the judges with their learning so far.

The judges commented that they were “all involved, testing each challenge and working together to solve puzzles” and that they were very strong at “learning and adapting” as their robot and coding skills developed.

31 points

out of a total of 40

The Penpol Pumpkins

For their Robot Design presentation the Penpol Pumpkins created large A3 posters with code snippets, attachment photos and other commentary on them.  These then formed the core of their presentation as they were able to discuss in detail how different parts of the robot functioned and explain their overall mission strategy.

The team also took some time during the presentation to offer some honest reflections on what the competition means to them and how they’ve grown as individuals and as a team over their two years competing.

The judges were impressed with their journey and their robot, commenting that it was a “superb team effort from start to finish!”

36 points

out of a total of 40

Part 4: Core Values

The final of the four areas that teams are marked on is called the Core Values. These values include Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork and Fun. Throughout their presentations, their robot games and the day itself the teams are being judged on these six areas.

Electric LEGO Legends

Despite being a first-time team at the competition, the Electric LEGO Legends made a big impact on the judges with their teamwork, enthusiasm and matching team t-shirts!  The judges were very impressed that they’d all taken time to learn how to code and how the team had a “real buzz and enthusiasm” throughout the day.

20 points

out of a total of 24

The Penpol Pumpkins

There’s really no other way to put this, the Penpol Pumpkins blew the judges away with their Core Values and scored an unimaginable full marks in this area!

The judges said they were “simply exceptional” and demonstrated this throughout the whole day with exemplary behaviour, a positive attitude and a real drive to compete at the very highest level possible.

24 points

out of a total of 24

The Final Scores

As you can see from each of the four areas above, both teams did exceptionally well and embraced each and every aspect of the competition. By being such strong all-rounders I'm delighted to final standings for each team...

Cornwall LEGO League: 1st Place

The Electric LEGO Legends came first overall on Day 1 of the 2023 Cornwall Regional Finals and now progress to the UK National Finals!

Cornwall LEGO League: 1st Place

The Penpol Pumpkins came first overall on Day 2 of the 2023 Cornwall Regional Finals and now progress to the UK National Finals!

Photo Gallery

Below are some extra photos from the day, kindly shared with us by LPhot O’Barrow from the Royal Navy.

Also in the news:

Jono Peck

London’s Calling 2023

On the 22nd May 2023, many of the Y6 travelled to London for 3 days of sightseeing, visiting attractions and the many things our nations capital has on offer. With a jam packed itinerary planned, we

Read More »
Linda Ruffell

Year 2 visit Penzance Gym Club

This week, all of the children in year 2 participated in their first gym session at Penzance Gym Club. All of the children received expert coaching, whilst learning how to balance on the beam, jumping from

Read More »
Jack Emery

Making Magic in Year 4!

To celebrate all of the fantastic learning which has been going on, Year 4 celebrated a Harry Potter ‘dress up’ day on Tuesday 26th March. The school playground was abuzz with spells and charms, the favourites

Read More »
Michael Pearson

Penpol Panthers

That’s a wrap on the 2023-24 Cross Country season… What an exciting and incredibly successful first season for the Penpol Panthers running club! The club has grown in numbers and enthusiasm since September, with runners enjoying

Read More »

Also in the news:

Nic Stanlake

Year 6 hit the heights at The Tide

Our current Year 6 pupils had their activity week curtailed last year due to the pandemic but finally had the chance to don the harnesses and head to The Tide. Thanks must go to Mr Pollard

Read More »
Jono Peck

Surf’s up with Y5/6 Surf Club

Surf’s up – During June and July, the Y5/6  went surfing with Hayle based surf school Shore Surf to learn to surf or improve surfing skills and also learn about key water safety messages and what

Read More »