CTRL ALT Believe

On Saturday 24th February 2018 the NHEHS robotics team competed in the FIRST Lego League national robotics finals at the University of West England. After winning the London regional heat back in December, the team of 7 girls from Years 7 to 11 under the name CTRL ALT BELIEVE, had had two months to prepare themselves. The team were coached throughout by sixthformers who had been part of the NHEHS team, CTRLX, who themselves had made it through to last years’ finals, and the girls headed to Bristol ready to take on some of the UK and Ireland’s best and keenest roboticists.

There are 3 main aspects to the First Lego League competition: Robot Game, Project and Core Values. The theme for the competition this year was ‘Hydrodynamics’, with each task on the robot game competition mat based around water. Robots have to be programmed to move autonomously around the mat undertaking specific tasks and challenges, gaining as many points as possible, whilst also maintaining high levels of accuracy. Over the Christmas holidays the girls worked extremely hard on the mechanical attachments for their robot with each designed to be specifically suited to completing a task on the mat. Building secure and mechanical systems out of Lego is not the easiest task but they succeeded at this element and impressed the judges with their innovative robot design. The robot games themselves were also successful and the girls managed to have a consistently high scoring robot and on the day beat their own personal best from the regional event.

The team was also successful in the Project element of the competition.  The brief was: ‘Identify a problem within the human water cycle and design a solution to help this’ and they came up with a concept named S-Alt Water. This product is designed to help in the current refugee crisis by attaching to boats and filtering sea water for drinking by using the heat of the Mediterranean sun. As well as making a prototype the girls had further supported their design with calculations of the salinity of the sea and the evaporation rate.

The team performed well in the Core Values section. On the day they were given a task they had to complete as team in front of the judges, which was to build a Lego wall so that the judges could no longer see them. Teams also have to prepare a poster and give a presentation to the judges about how they’ve worked in the team throughout the process. To serve as a visual representation of their teamwork and creativity the NHEHS team had each produced a cube to represent themselves as a team member. The cubes were of varying size according to the age of the individual member, with each cube having the individual’s photograph on the outside and  a description on the inside explaining their involvement in the team. 

We are very proud that they did so well in the finals and delighted that they received well deserved acknowledgement by winning the Judges Award for ‘Most passionate about STEM’. 

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