Wicklow students celebrate big award win at UK Lego competition

18 Feb 2019

Image: © Scanrail/Stock.adobe.com

A team of young Wicklow students is ‘over the moon’ after picking up a major award at an international Lego competition held in Bristol.

For decades, Lego has kept its place as a huge favourite of children – and adults – who love to put their engineering brains to work and build incredible structures. Now, a team of sixth-class students from Wicklow Montessori Primary School called Solar Sensors has seen all its hard work in qualifying for an international competition pay off.

The Institute of Engineering’s First Lego League UK and Ireland final was held on 16 February with kids from across the two countries competing to build a space-themed robot that would be able to navigate a complicated course.

A total of 70 teams took part in the event, but it was the Wicklow team that walked away with the RS Future Engineers award at the University of West of England Exhibition and Conference Centre in Bristol.

Months of hard work

Speaking of the team’s success, the award sponsors RS Components said that the award is earned “by the team who shows the most passion, aptitude, technical ability, motivation and collaboration throughout their First Lego League journey”.

The team of students built and coded the travelling robot called Auggie in a matter of weeks. They safely progressed through the Leinster finals at Dublin City University in January, which secured their place at the UK and Ireland championships.

After demonstrating Auggie’s abilities, the students aged between 11 and 12 years old were asked to present their research to the judges, including addressing the challenges of how astronauts adapt to returning to Earth.

This isn’t Wicklow Montessori Primary School’s first team at the First Lego League event having last year seen a group of students crowned the overall champions of the UK and Ireland. The Airbots team developed a number of Lego-based recycling solutions for water confiscated at airports during security checks, including using it to clean aircraft.

Meanwhile, the big winners of this year’s event was L20 Robotics, a team of six students aged between 13 and 16 years old from Beechen Cliff School and Ralph Allen School in Bath, UK. They picked up the overall winner award and also won the Robot Performance and Knockout awards.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic