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Westminsters celebrate robot success and a place in UK finals
25 March 2024

Good results in both Lego League and Tech Challenge means Westminster's computer scientists will aim for national glory this summer

At two separate events on the same weekend in March, Westminster pupils put their robotics skills to the test, in competition against pupils from schools around the country.

At the North London regional competition of the FIRST LEGO League, two Westminster teams took on the challenge to build and programme a LEGO robot capable of completing a series of games and challenges, being ranked based on points scored, engineering process and design, innovation, and core values.

The two groups of Lower School pupils, who had been working on their robot since September, placed second and third in the robot games, and in doing so walked away with a number of awards. One team won the knockout award and the robot design award, with the other taking the champions award for the highest average score across all four categories, and in the process securing a place at the GB finals to be held in Yorkshire in April.

At the same time, Westminster’s Upper School pupils were competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge, a competition which sees students build a remote controlled robot that is specifically designed to address the challenges of each year’s game. This year the competition was called CenterStage, and involved collecting and arranging plastic pixels on a sloping target area. Bonus points were available for launching a ‘drone’ at the end of the game and parking the team’s robot in a particular scoring zone. Importantly, the games were played as ever-changing ‘alliances’ of teams from two schools.

In the qualifying matches Westminster finished a respectable fifth, leading them to form an alliance with two strong teams from the American School in London. This alliance won the semi finals easily, and the team progressed to the final, a best of three format in which they were pitched against the first placed seed. Despite equipment failure in the first game, the Westminster / American alliance prevailed 2-1.

The Westminster team of 12 had been working on their robot since September, analysing the game, developing strategies and designing and making their robot. The hard work paid off with the victory, with judges also recognising Westminster’s strong design skills by assessing their engineering portfolio and quizzing the team on their design decisions along the way, leading them to win a further ‘Think Award’ trophy for engineering.

The team has now qualified for the national finals in Cambridge in June.

 

 

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