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The First Lego League Challenge

07 December 2017


Caldicott once again competed in the First Lego League Challenge at the beginning of December.  The competition took place at the American School in London with 24 teams from across the south of the UK taking part.

First Lego League is a research and robotics competition where children are encouraged to take an interest in real-world issues and develop key skills that are important for future careers.  Teams work together to research a given topic, this year was hydrodynamics, and to design, build and programme an autonomous Lego robot that needs to solve a series of missions.

Throughout the day Caldicott boys showed great resilience as both teams experienced the highs and lows of competition.  The day involved various heats for the robot challenge, judging of the robots, presenting their science research and a Lego building challenge.

Caldicott’s two teams were the Sharks and Fight the Fog!.  Both teams had researched two different problems, with two different ways to either educate people or solve the problem.  They did remarkably well on the day and should be proud of their hard work and commitment that they have shown over the past few months.

For their research projects, the Sharks focused on “What not to flush down the toilet”.  They created a consumer education video to highlight the problem.  This was a successful publicity campaign for the team with their video was viewed in various different countries around the world.  This was helped by the use of social media with re-tweets from key conservation charities.  The team were very proud to learn that they were the first to form a special First Lego League choir to help publicise their research.

Caldicott Fight the Fog!, researched how to stop kitchen waste clogging up drains by preventing fatbergs.  They produced an online guide showing how to make a DIY fat trap for the home.  This guide is currently number one on Google search and has been viewed over 4000 times.

Thames Water complimented both teams for their research projects and said the boys showed a great understanding of the issues behind their chosen problems.

In the robot challenges, the Sharks did very well in their heats and fought their way into the semi-finals. They then went into a playoff, after a dramatic restart involving an electronics failure, they finished 3rd.  This is Caldicott’s highest ranking in the competition so far.  Fight the Fog! had an equally dramatic day, suffering a technical failure in their match against the other Caldicott team. After some re-designs, they went on to post their best score in the next round.

The challenge day was very exciting and a great experience for all the boys involved.  They have learnt many skills over the course of the project including teamwork, how to present their research and the science of electronics.

Next year’s challenge is called “Into Orbit” and the 4th and 5th Forms will start preparing in the spring.