A team from a Hampshire independent school has claimed victory in the national EEP Robotics Challenge 2022.
Year nine pupils from Farnborough Hill beat entrants from more than 300 UK schools to win the competition, which requires teams of students aged 11-14 to work together to solve real-world engineering, technology and computing challenges by building, programming and controlling Lego robots.
The competition’s final took place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, at the end of last month. Teams were asked to complete a variety of assignments, including giving presentations on their designs, a speed and control challenge, and completing a variety of tasks on the robot challenge mat.
Concurrently, a teamwork challenge consisted of exploring the STEM-celebrating Big Bang Fair and talking to various engineers about their jobs.
Fittingly, the girls’ triumph coincided with International Women in Engineering Day.
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“It is such a fun experience,” said one team member, Niamh. “I have learnt so much and it just feels so good when you are actually competing the challenges, because you have worked so hard for it and you are getting really good results”.
One of her teammates, Laura, added: “It is definitely good for building resilience, because we did most of our code through trial and error, so if we hit a wall we would just tweak the code and try again.”
The robotics team was led by Farnborough Hill’s head of physics, Alan Rees.
“I am in awe of all the girls who have achieved this in such a short space of time,” he said. “They incorporated knowledge from their curriculum subjects to great effect.
“Their presentation included details about water retention from geography, as well as root growth from biology. They applied ratios from mathematics effectively to understand the gearing of their robot and adjust their program in proportion.
“Whilst the programming and engineering were the major focus of the competition, our girls nonetheless brought their usual Farnborough Hill dramatic flair and musicality to the competition, with many hours of careful programming tones, so that their robot would sing out Rick Astley’s infamous hit. Their tireless work has been a privilege to observe and they very much deserve this victory against some excellent competition.”