#DMUlocal volunteers get to grips with robotics ahead of Lego competition

Robots were running rampant last week when #DMUlocal volunteers got to grips with Lego kits that come alive as part of a project to get Leicester kids more engaged with STEM subjects.

The training session saw volunteers learn everything they need to know about the Lego Mindstorms sets in preparation for working with teams of children from ten primary schools across the city as part of an international competition.

First Lego League challenges kids aged 9-16 to design a robot that can can complete a number of tricky, themed, missions, all while gaining points for working together and learning new skills.

This year the challenges are based around Hydro Dynamics, allowing participants to dive into the topic of water and see how we find, transport, use and dispose of it.

Mandy Workman, Education Manager at First Lego League, attended the training and said: “This is a brand new tournament for Leicester and we are very grateful to the volunteers because the whole of First Lego League works thanks to people giving their time up to help inspire the kids.

“The nature of the competition means there is loads to accomplish so different kids shine at different things but everyone learns new skills and grows in confidence.

Ahead of meeting the schools teams they’ll be working with over the coming months, the training session gave volunteers a first glimpse of the robots the children will design, with a crash course delivered by Raising Robots.

Experts in all things Lego, Raising Robots teach robotics in classrooms across the UK, using hands-on exercises to get kids engaged with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Colin Talbot, Director of Raising Robots, said: “This is all about helping schoolchildren learning lots of different things. Along with supporting subjects such as science, the competition aims to promote teamwork and problem-solving, so there are many benefits.

“Of course, all the kids using this will also have a lot of fun. The project is different, it’s really engaging and they want to find out how to make their robot better.”

Alongside inspiring kids and raising their aspirations, DMU students are able to showcase their volunteering experience on their CV, as well as develop key employability skills.

Amina Lunat, a third year Computer Science student, said: “Volunteering on #DMUlocal projects like this is a wonderful way to make your CV stand out while benefiting others.

“Being able to work with kids and watch their eyes light up when they learn something new or solve a problem makes it all worth it.”

Over the next months the volunteers will provide dedicated support to a team, before schools from across the country come together for a grand finale at The Venue@DMU on January 11th.

Here the robots will undertake their challenges, teams will present their journey and design, and everything they have learned about Hydro Dynamics will be on show.

To learn more information or to see the latest #DMUlocal news, click here.