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KEGS Team Illuminatus

KEGS First Lego League

On Saturday 25 February, King Edward VI Grammar School (KEGS) Young Engineers team 'Illuminatus', all in year 8, embarked on a journey to the First Lego League (FLL) National Finals at the University of Western England in Bristol. It was a great experience and we all gained something from it.

Thank you to CSES for awarding us a STEM Club Bursary which helped us to continue with this competition and go to Bristol. Below, some of the team members have given their own accounts of the event and what they have learned from it.

Congratulations to team Illuminatus, who went on to win the Design Execution award at the 2017 Schools' Competition.

The event in Bristol was a great learning experience. I had a lot of fun programming the robot in the build-up to the event, as well as helping with the PowerPoint and the Core Values poster. At the venue, our team performed well with the group project (an automated pet feeder) and the Core Values exercise. Despite the fact that two of the robot's attachments mysteriously disappeared, Yash and I built some replacements, which worked just as well. Overall, I found that the competition helped me improve my programming skills as well as my confidence.

— Ben

I started off as a programmer for the Regionals, working with Ben to get the challenges completed as effectively as possible. We did better than expected and reached the quarter finals. Then we managed to get through to the national finals in Bristol, which was an amazing feeling. We began work straight away by upgrading from LEGO NXT to EV3. I became a designer along with Shyaam and we managed to produce a good-looking Core Values poster. I also worked on the speech and made prompt cards for the team. However, at the National Finals, we didn’t do as well as we had wanted to. Despite this, I have learnt much more than programming a bit of EV3, or building with Lego. I have learnt teamwork, organisation and professionalism throughout this process. First Lego League offers so much more than you first think. It is an experience I will never forget.

— Nimalan

My experience with the First Lego League was extraordinary. I learnt many core values and how to work in a team. I think my organisation skills increased dramatically after the competition. This is because all the deadlines and organising the work of each team member. We had to prepare many presentations and speeches and my confidence greatly increased. Overall, I believe I benefited greatly from the competition and I think that it is great practice for aspiring engineers.

— Alex

Overall I really enjoyed my Young Engineers experience from the tiring train journeys to the tense moments of the robot games. Every single moment was worth it. I think it was also a great learning experience as it helped me to develop many skills including patience, cooperation, knowing that there's more to it than winning and most importantly teamwork. The skills I learnt from this could be used in all aspects of future life since they are very important. My contribution to the team was mainly in the form of the presentation, the poster and some concepts for the robot. The FLL Competition also provides you a taste of what it is like to be an engineer, which I really relished. The competition is something all people interested in Engineering should get into and it is great fun!

— Arvind

I worked as the designer, developer and core values manager in team Illuminatus. On entering the competition, I doubted that our team would get to attend the Regional Finals. I began by designing a website which has had over seven hundred views to date; this website was created to make people aware of how over and under feeding of pets can affect them severely. I also led team Illuminatus' solution presentation. We were told that we were to find a solution to a problem that animals and people face when they interact. Our solution was to develop a pet feeder which fed pets on a timer. We were successful in all four categories and got into the National Final in Bristol. I hope to do the competition again next year and go to the International Finals in the USA. I have learnt so much by doing this competition, and my organisation and teamwork skills have improved significantly. I recommend that anyone aged 9-16 goes to the FLL competition 2018 as it is a wonderful experience.

— Shyaam

I was the programmer/builder for our team, Illuminatus. Ben and I were the programming team for the challenges, and completing the programs was hard work because of the short amount of time that we had. During the Regional FLL competition our team was extremely stressed, because our programs still needed a bit of polishing, but we still got through. This was an amazing thing for us because we had never thought that we would have reached so far. During the Nationals, we worked very hard on our robot. We decided to build a second and better version of our robot, and it was extremely hard for us because we had to try and make everything even better than before. Unfortunately, we were not able to make it through to the Internationals in the USA, but are grateful that we were able to learn so much about the competition which helped with our experience.

— Yash

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