Robotics team is ‘Highly commended’ at UK Final

Friday 23 June 2023

The Emmanuel team caught the judges’ eye at the final of a national LEGO robotics challenge this week.

After successfully winning the regional heat at Newcastle University, Emmanuel’s robotic team travelled to Birmingham on 20 June to compete in the UK final, hosted in the National Exhibition Centre during the Big Bang Science Fair.

The teams were assessed on four disciplines.  First was the Robot Design Presentation, and here the team’s highly visual presentation impressed the judges, despite the team having to compete with the noise and distraction of thousands of other students, plus incredibly loud bangs from the science demonstrations!

The second task of the day was the Speed Challenge.  Our robot was fast and we had high hopes; however, the robot fell off the table 15 minutes prior to judging!  Team member Riley Cockell used his engineering skills to rebuild it just in time, to score a time of 6.5 seconds.

Third was the Robot Challenge: a high-pressured, timed round with only one attempt.  Precision is required, where a millimetre could make the difference between success and failure.  Thankfully, no loud bangs went off to distract us and the team scored higher than their regional score.

The last task was the Teamwork Challenge, which is a mystery until the day of the event.  The task was to speak to STEM specialists who were at the Fair and produce a poster to encourage people to have a career in a STEM subject.

Finally, the day ended with the awards ceremony.  It was the moment of truth … would all the hard work pay off and silverware return to Emmanuel?

Yes, it did!  The team was honoured to win the ‘Highly commended’ category in recognition of their fantastic hard work and the brilliant performance of their robot. 

“It was a really fun experience, and I’ve never got that far in a competition before,” explained Year 9’s James Wallace.  “I learned a lot – especially about the software used to program the robot.  I’m interested in STEM and I’m hoping to pursue my interest by taking Engineering for GCSE next year.”

Special thanks go to Mr S Thomas for mentoring the team.  Well done and congratulations to all the Key Stage 3 students involved!