West Linton Primary wins Award

Thursday 12th May 2016
WASPS: Aedán Contier-Lawrie (11), Owen Jones (11), Jessica Levine (11), Cameron MacKay (12), Rebecca Moroney (11), Louis Myatt (12), Malcolm Rodwell (11), Logan Stewart (11), Alexander Walpole (11) and Oscar Weipers (11).

A student team of some 10 girls and boys from West Linton Primary School in the Scottish Borders has won the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology’s) FLL (FIRST LEGO League) UK and Ireland final and gone on to win an Innovation Award for their project at the FLL World Festival in St. Louis, USA.

FLL, a global STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) challenge aimed at 9-16 year-olds, tasks teams to solve real-world problems, with the help of a robot. This year’s challenge,  announced world wide last August, required young people to identify a real-world problem in the way that waste is dealt with, investigate that and come up with an innovative solution. They also had to design, build and program an autonomous Lego Mindstorms  robot to tackle a series of waste-related missions.

‘West Linton Wasps’ the award winning team impressed judges in America with their project, which investigated the problem of wasted vegetables from school lunches! After finding that 60 percent of vegetables were being wasted, the team introduced an incentive scheme where children earned tokens for eating vegetables, and which earned prizes for each class. The school has enjoyed a 47 per cent reduction in wasted vegetables and hopes to extend this win-win scheme to other local schools.

Team members were Aedán Contier-Lawrie (11), Owen Jones (11), Jessica Levine (11), Cameron MacKay (12), Rebecca Moroney (11), Louis Myatt (12), Malcolm Rodwell (11), Logan Stewart (11), Alexander Walpole (11) and Oscar Weipers (11).

Gail Jackson, one of the team’s coaches at the Young Engineers and Science Club at West Linton Primary, said: “When we started on our FIRST LEGO League challenge last September we had no idea it would lead us to a World Festival in St. Louis. We are very proud of the team and it's been a fantastic experience for the children and us, as their coaches. The atmosphere at the Festival was electric and the enormous venue and sheer number of teams from 80 countries across the world added to the excitement.” (Below: West Linton Primary)



Richard Pering, Education Manager for FIRST LEGO League at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, added: “The West Linton Wasps should be very proud of themselves – it’s fantastic that their innovative project was recognised at the global final. The IET runs competitions like the FIRST LEGO League in order to show young people how creative, exciting and rewarding engineering can be. In order to tackle the engineering skills gap we need more graduates to enter the profession, and this can only happen if more school-age children are attracted to, and choose to study STEM subjects – competitions like FLL are therefore vital.”

The West Linton Wasps won a place in the FLL UK final after seeing off fierce competition from teams across Scotland. They were crowned Champions at the Dundee regional heat which was organised by Lambda Jam and the RSE Young Academy of Scotland with support for Skills Development Scotland who were keen to see the competition grow as part of their Digital World campaign, aimed at changing attitudes and promoting careers in the digital technology sector.

The IET is FLL’s UK and Ireland operational partner. Supporting the competition is part of the IET’s commitment to show young people  benefits of careers within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

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