Grammar wins FIRST LEGO League Challenge hosted by CQUni Townsville

Published:08 November 2018

A school team competes in the second annual Townsville region First LEGO League challenge.

For the second year running, Townsville Grammar School were crowned Overall Champions at the second annual Townsville Regional CQUniversity FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Challenge over the weekend.

The local school won the keenly contested event held at CQUniversity’s Townsville campus on Saturday, triumphing over 16 other schools in a test of strategy and innovation that spanned five hours of spirited competition.

This year, 165 children used LEGO Education Mindstorm kits to compete in the ‘INTO ORBIT’ challenge.

Students worked in teams to invent, design, fabricate and build robots from scratch, drawing out all forms of interpersonal and intrapersonal communications and testing learner literacies in mathematical, scientific, and technological core curriculum areas.

Event organiser and CQUniversity Education Lecturer Dr Colin Baskin said he was overwhelmed with the response to this year’s competition.

“The FIRST LEGO League season lasts 10 weeks and this was the regional finale, where teams came to play. We had 23 active teams this season and 17 teams from the Townsville region presenting at the event, ” Dr Baskin said.

“It was wonderful to see these young scientists and engineers really getting into the spirit of the Into Orbit Challenge,” he said.

Dr Baskin said teams worked together to construct and engineer their robots before completing 10 robot challenge missions in a 2.5-minute timeframe.

The game-based framework is a kinaesthetic challenge; the research project is the investigative challenge. Teams are required to research and present on ‘space issues’ such as loneliness, isolation, health and well-being. One team of eleven-year-olds designed, built and operated a functioning ‘hologram’ machine to enable space travellers to communicate with family and friends at home. Another wrote and performed a “Space Rap” that highlights the important role of 3D printing and Gamma irradiation in the health and survival of astronauts in transit.

“We don’t know what the next generation of Nobel laureates, research scientists and engineers look like. We don’t know where to go to find them. FIRST® LEGO® League does what sports have done for so many generations now. It opens doors and grows potential. It harvests skills; it is an invitation to young people with the right stuff to take on the challenge of future sustainability as scientists, doctors, engineers, fabricators, and professional tradespeople.”

The Mundingburra Magnetic Masterminds from Mundingburra State School were overall tournament runners-up while Heatley State School took out the ‘Judge’s Choice’ Presentation award for the second year running.

Dr Baskin said five Townsville Teams will qualify to head to Brisbane at the end of the month to compete in the Queensland State Championships.

“At this stage, Townsville Grammar look like taking up the challenge to go to Brisbane where a strong performance will earn them an invitation to the National Championships in Sydney in December."

There are 47 competitions in Australia this year with more than 500 000 children globally completing the Into Orbit Challenge in over 43 countries.

“FIRST LEGO League provides authentic STEM learning opportunities for thousands of kids every year. It fosters a sense of belonging, it celebrates shared accomplishment, and offers the student a chance to be a scientist in their school and global environment," Dr Baskin says.