Youngsters in Blackburn gear up for battle of robots

Students with their robots

Students with their robots

First published in Blackburn Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant picture editor

EVERYTHING is fitting into place for pupils at a Blackburn primary school who are through to the final of a national Lego robotics skills competition.

Twenty two schools from across the UK will be battling for first place in the final, and the chance to compete in America.

The dedicated team of 10 pupils at St Thomas’ Primary School, in Newton Street, who spend their lunchtimes preparing and practicing, won the regional heat after battling it out with other schools in Blackburn with Darwen.

Competitors, aged between nine and 16, were set the task of improving the quality of life for elderly people and challenged to find innovative ways for senior people to keep fit, keep in touch and stay mobile.

Teams also had to build, test, and program a robot using a Lego robot to solve a set of missions on an obstacle course. They were judged on their ability to build and programme the robot, their presentation and research skills and how well they cooperate with each other and their competitors.

The schools will battle it out at the First Lego League national final at Loughborough University on Saturday, in the hope of winning a place at the World Festival in the USA, where they would showcase their work alongside other champions from across the world. The runner up has an opportunity to compete at the Open European Championship in Paderborn, Germany.

Donna Simpson, deputy headteacher, said: “Last year we were runners up and went to Germany where we competed against 72 other teams. It’s a bit like Robot Wars.

“To get to this point again for the second year running is phenomenal. On the back of last year’s success we had 50 applicants for the lunchtime club, but we could only take 10.

“They each get assigned a role, such as builder or programmer, and do all their research in school before going head to head with other teams on the day. Whatever happens at the nationals, we will be proud of all their hard work.”

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