Electric LEGO Legends Compete at National Finals

Following their fantastic performance at the Cornish Finals at Culdrose, the Electric LEGO Legends had the opportunity to compete at a National level on Saturday, when they represented Cornwall at the British FIRST LEGO League Finals.

Our journey began with a ten-hour coach trip up to Harrogate along with our Year 6 team (the Penpol Pumpkins) and our friends from Truro High School for Girls (the Solar Savers).  Once we eventually arrived at our hotel for the night the team all gathered together for a meal and a chance to catch up with Oliver who met us up there.  Oli moved schools at the end of last term, so it was a real treat that he was able to join us for the competition and for a good catch-up with his friends.

After a good nights sleep (and a great breakfast buffet!) we boarded another coach and headed into Harrogate itself toward the Harrogate Convention Center where the competition itself was to be held.

Beginning

1 point for a team who are beginning to demonstrate the criteria.

Developing

2 points shows that a team is developing that criteria.

Accomplished

3 points is where a team has accomplished the particular criteria.

Exceeding

4 points is where a team has gone above and beyond and exceeded the expectation.

It’s fair to say that the Year 5’s were, understandably, very nervous when they arrived at the convention centre, but they quickly got stuck in to decorating their pit area to make it look more colourful and fun.  They added bunting, paper decorations and colourful wind turbines to match their Innovation Project theme all about wind power.

The morning started with a star-studded opening ceremony, during which team captains Lucas and Sophia got a chance to walk across the stage to represent the Electric LEGO Legends.

After this the team headed straight to the judging area to share their presentations with the judges.  Being the first team in was a bit scary, but getting the hardest part of the day our of the way early on was a great advantage as it meant a lot of those worries were able to be put to rest and the team were able to fully enjoy the rest of the day.

Despite the nerves the team felt confident going into the judging room and emerged half an hour later feeling really pleased with their presentations and buzzing with the judges feedback!

Their Innovation Project focussed on the theme of Wind Energy, in particular the fact that hundreds of thousands of new homes are built each year but only a few thousand wind turbines are built in the same timeframe.

The team proposed a solution whereby new houses would be built in pairs, shaped aerodynamically to funnel wind into a central, shared turbine.  This would allow houses to generate their own clean energy whilst also saving money – a double win!

In Harrogate my favourite bit was when all the people were doing the robots together – that was pretty cool! 

Seeing some of the more advanced teams tackling the really tricky missions a bit insane, I have no idea how their robot managed to do that!  I enjoyed seeing everyone struggle with the windmill task, but when I tried it I couldn’t do it either! 

Judges Feedback for the Innovation Project

The judges loved the fact the children had made their own 3D models in Tinkercad. They said the information was well documented  and the presentation was bright, colourful and all inclusive.

In order to improve for next time the judges suggested conducting more research on the final project and sharing your ideas with your classmates and parents to get additional feedback.

Identify

Problem | Research

2

2

Design

Ideas | Planning

2

2

Create

Innovation | Model

2

2

Iterate

Share | Improvements

3

2

Communicate

Presentation | Solution

2

2

The second presentation of the day was the Robot Design Presentation, where the team shared their ideas and code that led to their robot.  They shared this through lots of large A1 sized posters with screenshots of their code, photos of the robot and notes that helped explain each part to the judges.

By talking through several key missions in detail they were able to clearly share how they’d iterated on and improved various elements of their robot from the attachments to the code itself.  These improvements and refinements went down very well with the judges – especially their use of a permanent attachment which made the transition between runs much quicker.

My favourite part of the day was probably the Robot Games, because I really enjoy it and think it’s really fun.  Being able to practice loads and then working out where to improve is really rewarding because you can then try and make the robot even better by making it quicker and more reliable. 

Taking part in the Robot Games in front of everyone was fun but also a bit frightening because we had a camera right behind us pointing at us – but we couldn’t look back because we were concentrating so much on the robot!!

Judges Feedback for the Robot Games

The judges remarked that they really enjoyed seeing the large, colourful posters the children had made as it was nice to see the coding printouts and explanations

They were also impressed to see that the robot utilised a permanent attachment which reduced the need for changeover time, allowing the children to perform more missions without the need to change attachments.

The judges suggested that next time the children might consider utilising sensors to help them gain more points at the table.

Identify

Mission | Building

3

3

Design

Workplan | Innovation

2

2

Create

Functionality | Model

3

3

Iterate

Testing | Improvements

3

3

Communicate

Explanation | Evidence

2

3

Once the presentations were done, we had the rest of the day to explore the STEM Expo, watch the other teams doing their Robot Games and of course get in some practice for our own matches.  Seeing some of the other teams robots was really inspiring and has given the Electric LEGO Legends plenty of ideas for next year.

In the STEM Expo next door we got to explore loads of cool technology and got the chance to play and explore too.  We watched a 3D film about space, rebuilt a human skeleton and even raced balloon cars!

Seeing the experience of being in Harrogate was awesome.  The Year 6’s told us it was really good and that’s why they wanted to go again and they were right – I thought it was really, really good! 

I would love to do it again, especially because looking around and seeing the different schools was really interesting – meeting lots of new people and learning lots of new things.

Throughout the day the children exemplified the six Core Values of FIRST LEGO League, including Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork and Fun.  These six values are vital to a successful team as it’s a way of measuring just how well they work together, how they support each other during challenges and how they’re using what they’ve been doing to create a positive change – both in themselves and the wider community too.

It was particularly lovely to see these children discovering so many new and exciting things at the event, exploring all corners with big smiles on their faces and embracing challenges as they came up.

Judges Feedback for the Core Values

The judges were impressed with the Core Values demonstrated by the team, drawing particular attention to the way they made decisions through a democratic process of voting in the team.  They also highlighted the good harmony between the team members whilst they were presenting and simply loved how enthusiastic and bubbly they all were together!

Discovery

team explored new skills and ideas

2

Innovation

team used creativity and persistence to solve problems

2

Impact

team applied what they learned to improve their world

2

Inclusion

team demonstrated respect and embraced their differences

3

Teamwork

team clearly showed they had worked as a team throught their journey

3

Fun

teams clearly had fun and celebrated what they have achieved

3

My favourite part was probably the Robot Games, because it was very intense and I thought that kinda felt pretty good to me.  I felt like I was doing something pretty big because everyone was there watching and cheering me on!

It felt pretty good when we managed to get the missions to work and everyone was watching us do good on the missions. 

That made me feel really proud of the team.

The trickiest part of the day was the Robot Games.  Going from practicing in the controlled atmosphere of the Mac Suite to taking part in a huge hall with thousands of people watching and cameras everywhere is very tricky!  This was undoubtably a barrier as the team found that their first two Robot Games rounds didn’t go as well as they’d hoped – the noise in particular proving a big distraction.

However, they still scored a very solid 130 and 135 points in those two matches.  They also rotated team members which ensured that they all had a go with running and launching the robot.

After these two matches the team headed to the practice table and spent time analysing and adjusting their starting positions for the robot.  Even a subtle movement to the left or right can have a real tangible impact on the performance of the robot.

After spending some time perfecting these lineups they were ready to go back to the arena for the third and final match, at which they scored an incredible 185 points!  It really does show that hard work and perseverance pays off!

135

Points in Round 1

130

Points in Round 2

185

Points in Round 3

For a first year team the Electric LEGO Legends performed incredibly well.  They took challenges in their stride and embraced every opportunity.  It was wonderful to see them working so well together and increasing in their confidence throughout the day as they spoke to more and more people. 

Well done Electric LEGO Legends – let’s see what next year has in store for us!

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