Young engineers crowned FIRST LEGO League UK champions

A team of young engineers from Wallace Hall Academy in Dumfriesshire, Scotland have been crowned champions of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) FIRST LEGO League UK and Ireland competition.

The winning team – GLIC – is made up of Greig Dunbar (17), Scott Clancy (16), Lauren McKinna (16), Eleanor Burns (17), Bethany Nicholson (14), Faith Goodburn (14) and Hannah Ogilvie (14).

They were crowned champions at the competition final on Saturday in Bristol. They will now represent the UK on the global stage when they attend the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in Detroit, US in April. Along with 12 other teams, they qualified for international finals which will be held in Hungary, Estonia and the US.

The IET runs this science and technology challenge, which is aimed at 9-16 year olds and tasks teams to build a robot to tackle a series of missions, and create an innovative solution to a real world problem. This year’s HYDRO DYNAMICS challenge was all about water – how we find, transport, use, or dispose of it.

The winning team impressed the judges with their advanced robotics skills, as well as their project, which is a sewage heat recovery system they have called a ‘Powerdrain’. Effectively it uses the heat from greywater, whether from showers, washing machines, washing up, or even the heat generated from the biological breakdown of human waste, and recycles it into heat for the home. 

Team member, Scott Clancy said: “It’s unbelievable that we won the Champions Award. Hopefully we can raise the funds needed to go to Detroit to take part in the World Championship against teams from around the world.” 

Team coach, James, Lees said: “It’s a fantastic achievement by the pupils involved who have worked really hard throughout the year. The team are looking forward to competing at the World Championship in Detroit and representing Scotland and the UK on a global level.”

The runners-up were Griffin Sprog, a team of students from the American School in London.

Mandy Workman, FIRST LEGO League IET Education Manager, said: “FIRST LEGO League allows young people to experience engineering in action. As well as bringing excitement to STEM subjects, the students get hands-on experience with robotics, and designing innovative solutions to real world problems. Developing computer programming, teamwork, problem-solving and communications skills has never been so much fun. The IET FIRST LEGO League gives students an insight into the creative and innovative careers that engineering offers.

“There is a great need for young people with STEM skills to fill the next generation of engineering roles and the IET are excited to see such bright young engineering minds in action in the FIRST LEGO League competition.”

The event was the largest ever FIRST LEGO League UK and Ireland final with over 500 young people, 150 volunteers and 500 enthusiastic spectators attending. The teams were all keen to demonstrate their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication.

Other prizes awarded at the final included:

  • Project Award: Tech HEds from Chippenham
  • Runners up: Water Works from London
  • Robot Design Award: L2O from Ralph Allen School, Bath
  • Runners-up: Stev3 from Buxton Community School near Sheffield
  • Robot Knockout Award: L2O from Ralph Allen School, Bath
  • Core Values Award: Airbots from Wicklow Montessori Primary School near Galway, Ireland
  • Runners-up: Aquarius from Colchester Grammar School, Cambridge
  • Robot Performance Award: West Linton Water Dragons from West Linton Primary School in Scotland
  • Runners-up: GLIC from Wallace Hall Academy, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
  • Judges Awards: EDC (Every Drop Counters), from St Mary’s Catholic School, Barrow-in –Furness, Cumbria, CTRL ALT BELIEVE, from Notting Hill and Ealing High School in London, Typhoon from Newbury and Lauder Lego Legends from Lauder Primary School, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Insight into Learning Award: Dore Diodes from Dore Primary School, Welwyn Garden City
  • Bechtel Safety Award: Razor Sharp Minds from Reigate St Mary’s School in Reigate
  • Host Venue (UWE) Innovation Award: End_Tec from Endon High School, near Stoke

The IET is proud to be the operational partner for FIRST LEGO League in the UK and Ireland. Supporting the competition is part of the IET’s commitment to show young people the benefits of careers within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

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