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Dereham school through to national finals of global science and technology competition

First Lego League at Neatherd High School.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

First Lego League at Neatherd High School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A Dereham school won the East of England regional championships award, when it hosted a round of the FIRST LEGO league for the first time.

First Lego League at Neatherd High School.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYFirst Lego League at Neatherd High School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Neatherd High School now goes through to the UK and Ireland final on Sunday, February 26 at the University of West of England Exhibition and Conference Centre in Bristol.

First Lego League at Neatherd High School.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYFirst Lego League at Neatherd High School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The competition for students of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sees over 250,000 young people taking part each year across the world.

First Lego League at Neatherd High School.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYFirst Lego League at Neatherd High School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

It is run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and sees teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, and challenge them to develop a solution.

First Lego League at Neatherd High School.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYFirst Lego League at Neatherd High School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Along their discovery journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges.

They also must design, build, programme a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology, then compete on a table-top playing field.

Jason Chapman, the school’s head of design and technology, said: “There were five awards up for grabs, and Neatherd won the East of England regional championships award. It means the school now goes on to the national finals in Bristol in three weeks’ time, where there will be about 40 teams competing. The international championships follows that.

“Our team did exceptionally well, and put a massive amount of effort in to it. The judges thought the Neatherd team was ‘resilient, autonomous and self-sufficient’. As I was busy doing other stuff, hosting the event, I could not help them that much.

“There were six on the team - Lily-Mae Nicholson and Aaron Nicholson, twins in year 9, Edward Curl, Billy Hall, Sergio Mendes and Olaf Don, all in year seven.

“They had to build a robot. The theme was animal allies and how we can help animals. We had a really fun day.”

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey won the robot performance and robot design awards, while teams from the Maltings Academy, Essex, and Mildenhall Academy, won the other awards.

The Neatherd students normally travel to Duxford Aerodrome as their nearest venue to take part in the tournament but this year the attraction, near Cambridge, was having a refit so Mr Chapman submitted a bid to hold it at the school, and was successful.

The STEM Club at Neatherd High School has competed in the FIRST LEGO League for a number of years,

Is your school taking part in an interesting challenge? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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