11th December 2018 — Since the beginning of term, two teams of boys in Year 7 and 8 have been involved in the First Lego League - a global robotics based life skills competition for young people to work together to explore a given topic and to design, build and program an autonomous Lego robot to solve a series of missions. This year’s theme was ‘Into Orbit’, to identify a physical or social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration and propose a solution.
The competition was made up of four different parts: robot design, a robot challenge, a scientific project and an assessment of how the team work together. Caldicott placed two teams into the competition: Sputnik (Year 7), and Apollo (Year 8).
For their projects, both teams chose to look at food in space and welcomed cake designer, Mich Turner MBE, to share valuable insights into nutrition and what ingredients would work well without refrigeration. As a result, the teams developed different versions of granola type bars that were suitable for spaceflight.
At the beginning of December, the teams visited The American School in London to take part in the London North heat. This is one of the largest heats in the First Lego League calendar and attracts senior schools, dedicated engineering clubs and even a team from France.
In the initial robot rounds, both teams, unfortunately, had a poor start scoring quite low at first. However, Sputnik upped their game after some clever tweaks and pulled ahead in round two. Apollo, after scoring badly again in the second round, really rallied showing the resilience, patience and determination that the boys aspire to at Caldicott. By the third round, Apollo had their design, coding and strategy sorted and climbed to an impressive 3rd place, earning a spot in the semi-finals. This is the third successive year the school has seen a team reach this stage. Sputnik also did fantastically well and came in 9th.
Both teams put in outstanding performances explaining to the judges about their robots and projects. With the feedback noting just how effective they were at working together.
Due to their impressive project and team working skills, we are very proud to report that Caldicott Apollo were crowned Tournament Champions and have earned a place in the UK and Ireland Final held in February. They have returned to school and are already working on finding improvements.
As for team Sputnik, their robot design has been chosen to be used in the Caldicott Lego League, which will start in January for Years 5 and 6.
The school is also looking forward to hosting the first FLL Junior event in March. This will include all boys in Year 4 as well as welcoming external teams from across the country.
Alongside traditional subjects, coding and robotics are at the forefront of the computing curriculum at Caldicott, which we hope will prepare them in becoming global citizens and blaze a trail in the future.