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Mildenhall students compete in the First Lego League

For the second year running Mildenhall College Academy took students to compete in the global First Lego League (FLL) tournament. This year saw an increased interest with the majority of the academy’s team from last year competing for the second time and a new team formed of Year 7 students.

This year’s theme was Animal Allies which meant that all of the activities focused on how animals and humans interact with one another. The tournament is split up into four sections: a Robot Game, a research project, robot design and core values.

In the game the students have to program a robot to complete as many animal related tasks as possible, such as transporting a shark in a tank, to gain points. The teams have 3 attempts with their highest score being counted. Both of our teams finished on 84 points.

The research project involves the teams choosing an animal and coming up with an idea on how the interaction between that animal and humans can be improved. A great deal of research goes into this part of the competition as well as working together to come up with innovative solutions. The Year 8 team decided to focus on the pangolin whilst the Year 7 team focused on sharks. On competition day the teams then had to give a presentation about their idea to the project judges. This is not an easy task and the nerves could have set in but both teams performed well and the year 8 team’s hard work paid off with their project receiving the ‘Best project’ trophy.

The robot design section meant another trip to the judges. This time it takes the form of a conversation where the judges try to find out as they can about the design of the robot and why the teams made the decisions they made.

The final, and perhaps the most important, part of the competition is judged throughout the day. The teams are continuously being scrutinised for their application of the core values:

  • We are a team.
  • We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
  • We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together.
  • We honour the spirit of friendly competition.
  • What we discover is more important than what we win.
  • We share our experiences with others.
  • We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
  • We have FUN!

The values listed above are what FLL say should be considered at all times. Whilst the competition is about winning all of Mildenhall students also understood that what they learn is even more important than the winning. The students spent the day learning from other teams and teaching other teams what they have learnt. The Year 7 team showed an excellent application of all these core values throughout the day and were rewarded with the ‘Core Values’ trophy.

The students had a wonderful day and are extremely proud of their hard work and achievements and they represented the academy remarkably.

The Mildenhall trophy cabinet is fast filling up with Lego trophies and hopefully the students will be inspired to continue working with programming problems.

Special thanks must go to Mrs Willingham for giving her Sunday up to drive us to Dereham as well as Ms. Cooper and Mr Ward for coming along to support.

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