Four local schools have been ranked in the top 20 league table of a national robotics competition after a nail-biting regional qualifiers round – hosted at the University of the West of England.  The schools that made it through to the next heat of the Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge are: Barnwood Park Arts CollegeAbbeywood Community School, Bedminster Down Secondary School, and Bristol Brunel Academy.

“Robotics has a future for them, right here in Bristol if they want it”

 

The event saw nine teams of secondary school students from across the South West showing off the autonomous Lego robots they built and programmed themselves.

As part of the Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge, the teams demonstrated their skills to complete a series of ‘space missions’. A panel of judges marked them on a range of tasks, from assembling the crew to launching the satellite.

You can see a video from Manchester’s regional finals below:

Schools that took part received free Lego Mindstorms Education EV3 STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) resources worth £2,000. Also, students got an exceptional opportunity to see inside the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a world-leading centre for robotics and autonomous systems based at the university.

“It’s an opportunity for lateral thinking, problem solving and team work, as well as a chance to really push themselves”

 

The event, which was held on Friday 27 May, was one of nine regional heats being held ahead of a national final this month. Dr Corra Boushel, project coordinator at UWE Bristol, says of the involvement with the competition: “Students get to apply their creativity, enthusiasm and knowledge to complete the challenge. It’s an opportunity for lateral thinking, problem solving and team work, as well as a chance to really push themselves.”

Also, the 11 to 14-year-olds have also been challenged to research, design, plan and present their own solutions to a contemporary scientific problem – developed by Lego Education with NASA.

_REF3746Corra goes on to say, “UWE Bristol has an undergraduate degree in robotics, as well as offering related courses in Computer Science, Electronic or Mechanical Engineering, so for us it is crucial to support younger students in discovering these exciting topics. We want them to realise that robotics is something that they can be a part of, that they can be good at it and that robotics has a future for them, right here in Bristol if they want it.”

The competition

Tomorrow’s Engineers, launched by EngineeringUK, is an organisation that promotes the roles that engineers, engineering and technology have in our society. The contest introduces student teams to real-world engineering, technology, robotics and computing challenges.

“We need to double the number of graduates and apprentices entering the engineering industry”

 

UWe-robotics-competition (1)CEO of EngineeringUK Paul Jackson tells us: “In order to meet the country’s demand for engineers we need to double the number of graduates and apprentices entering the engineering industry.”

Erika Smallridge, product development manager for Tomorrow’s Engineers is excited with how the high the standard has been throughout the regional qualifiers, “There are an amazing range of skills coming through from each group, enthusiasm is in abundance with pupils, teachers and STEM Ambassadors. Bringing them all together is an absolute pleasure!”

You can keep up with how South West schools do on the league table do as they move closer to the finals in June. Or, you can see how the competitors stack-up by following the results on their Twitter @Tomorrows_Eng

Natasha Baer