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FIRST LEGO League final draws near


After more than two months of intense preparation, secondary schools across Kent are now less than two weeks away from the regional finals of the FIRST LEGO League competition, which will be held at the University of Kent’s Sports Centre (Canterbury campus) on Thursday 24 November.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international programme for children aged 10 – 16 years that combines a hands-on, interactive robotics programme with a sports-like atmosphere using the LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System. Teams consist of 7 – 10 players with the focus on team-building, problem-solving, creativity and analytical thinking.

Each year, teams face a challenge emulating a real world event or situation and must research, plan, build, programme and test a fully autonomous robot capable of accomplishing that challenge – within eight weeks.

The theme for the 2005 competition is Ocean Odyssey; the task is to find solutions that will sustain the health, biodiversity and productivity of the world’s oceans for present and future generations. Sharks, treasure chests and an oil pipeline are some of the obstacles that teams will face in this year’s challenge for the top prize.

Participating schools for the 2005 competition include: Brockhill Park School (Hythe), Canterbury High School, Castle Community College (Deal), Chaucer Technology School (Canterbury), Clarendon House (Ramsgate), Dartford Technology College, Gravesend Grammar School, Hundred of Hoo School (Rochester), Kent College (Canterbury), King Ethelbert School (Birchington), Maidstone Grammar School for Girls, The North School (Ashford), Norton Knatchbull (Ashford), Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School (Faversham), Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys (Canterbury), Sir Roger Manwood’s School (Sandwich), St Anselm’s Catholic School (Canterbury) and St Simon Stock RC School (Maidstone).

The winners of the Kent regional final will go on to the National Finals on 21 January 2006. Over 7000 teams are taking part worldwide.

Janet Linington, Kent FLL Challenge co-ordinator and Lecturer in Computing at the University of Kent, says, ‘We are expecting to have an exciting day with ingeniously designed robots performing sophisticated feats on the challenge arenas. In this age group, students show great imagination and skill in tackling problems and enjoy being challenged. The topic of the oceans is particularly relevant for the teams as Kent is closely associated with the sea. We look forward to finding out what solutions they have found to conservation problems linked with the sea.’

Sponsored by SETPOINT Kent and Medway, the event is hosted by the Computing Laboratory and the Department of Electronics at the University of Kent.

Gary Hughes | alfa
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