Young engineers crowned UK’s FIRST LEGO League champions

The team will now go on to compete for the international title in Detroit in April

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

The IET’s STEM competition is aimed at students between 9 and 16-year-olds. It challenges teams to build a robot to tackle a series of missions and offer a solution to a real-world problem.

This year’s competition was about hydro-dynamics and tasked the contestants with devising solutions to how we find, transport, use, and dispose of water.

The winning team impressed the judges with their advanced robotics skills, as well as their project, which was a sewage heat recovery system. 

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

The team called the invention the Powerdrain which recovered heat from greywater produced in the home – such as from showers, washing machines, sinks, and even the heat generated from the biological breakdown of human waste. This recovered heat was fed back into the home to minimise the waste of energy. 

The winning team was 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).

The team was crowned champions at the competition final in Bristol. Along with their title, they won the chance to represent the UK at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in Detroit in April. They will compete in the international final along with 12 other qualifying teams. 

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 and compete against teams from around the world”. 

Team coach, James Lees said: “It’s a fantastic achievement. The team is looking forward to competing at the World Championship in Detroit and representing the UK on a global level.”

Mandy Workman, the 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, and problem-solving skills have never been so much fun.”

“There is a great need,” Mandy continued, “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.”

The event was the largest ever FIRST LEGO League in the UK, with over 500 young people, 150 volunteers and 500 spectators attending. 

The IET is the operational partner for FIRST LEGO League in the UK and Ireland. Supporting the competition is part of the IET’s commitment to showing young people the benefits of careers within STEM.

For more information about this year’s FIRST LEGO League competition, visit their website

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