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Pupils get creative for FIRST LEGO League showpiece


A group of eight students stand behind a table with Lego on it after winning a tournament

A regional tournament for a LEGO®-based competition to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has been held at the University of Bradford.

The regional FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge (FLLC) event saw students from schools across northern England taking part including from the Wirral, Blackburn and Barnsley.

The Bradford district was represented by ‘The Incredilegos’ from Bradford Grammar School and two teams from Beckfoot Oakbank School. 

The programme provides hands-on STEM experiences for children aged four to 16 through three FIRST® LEGO® League divisions across the UK and Ireland. It is run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and aims to use the fun activity to promote engineering as a future career for the participating youngsters. It is the largest STEM robotics competition in the world. 

a close-up picture of a table with a number of Lego models on it

In this year’s competition, with the theme of ‘Masterpiece’ to celebrate the arts, the participating youngsters have built the challenge mat at school made out of LEGO® bricks and linked to technology that will improve an audience’s experience of staged production.

The models are linked to this year’s theme, using key parts of a live entertainment production including lighting and cameras. The children build stages where different performances take place such as musical concerts or stage shows.  

On the regional event day, each team had the chance to compete on the LEGO® mat three times in two-and-a-half minute sessions each occasion in a bid to rack up their highest points score. These battle for points also involved each school’s robot made out of LEGO® which they had built in the lead-up to the final event during this school year.

The schools competed in four areas – innovation project, robot game, robot build, robot design and core values. 

A picture looking down at a multicoloured table with Lego models on it

Bradford Grammar School was crowned as the day’s overall winner with 368 points and now advance to the national final, set to be held in Harrogate on Saturday 20 April. 

Dr James Machell, STEM Curriculum Development Manager at the University of Bradford, said: “It’s a big thing. We are very happy to be part of a national scheme to get people engaged in technology and science. 

The pupils involved have been working on their robots since September last year. It’s a culmination of a full year of work for them. All of the schools bring their own built LEGO® robot to compete

“Some of the schools have been competing in the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge for 10 years with us now.”

The FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge final is the latest event run by the University of Bradford to encourage youngsters into engineering. 

Children from a host of Bradford district schools visited the University’s STEM Centre in October 2023 and were challenged to use LEGO® Mindstorms, which develops programmable robots based on Lego bricks, and iPads to build and programme their own vehicles to travel around a city scape without any human interaction. They were also given the chance to code their vehicles to react to emergencies and avoid pedestrians.

The pupils also formed a company and showed how they worked together as a team, then pitching their ideas.