On Wednesday 6th and Friday 8th March, we were delighted to participate in the First Lego League events in Cardiff and Swansea, hosted by EESW (Engineering Education Scheme Wales), a Spectris Foundation charity partner. EESW runs schemes such as First Lego League to inspire and motivate young people aged 8-19 to choose careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

First Lego League is a global science and technology competition aimed at fostering interest in real-world issues and developing STEM skills among teams of students who collaborate to investigate scientific topics by planning, programming, and testing an autonomous robot to accomplish various missions. This year’s challenge, “masterpiece”, involved the robot activating models related to multimedia arts such as sound stages and concert venues.

Our colleagues Clare Fenwick-Hyde (R&D Sustainability Project Manager, Malvern Panalytical), Chris Cronin (Systems Engineer, Malvern Panalytical), Hugo Maule (Group Head of STEM) and Helena Nathan-King (Head of Sustainability) took up the exciting invitation to be judges for the events.

Clare explains “We had an interesting day with the children. Each team, aged 9-16, designed a Lego robot to tackle challenges like moving levers or cogs on a board. They also presented their teamwork and innovative designs, reflecting Lego’s core values. Our role was to act as judges for their project presentations, and we saw some wonderful examples.”

Chris added, “We saw a wide variety of different approaches to the same problems which showed the diversity amongst the teams. It was great to see how enthusiastic and respectful the students were even when things didn’t go to plan!”

Hugo shared “I partnered with a judge from the Royal Mint, which provided a unique perspective. It was an absolute delight to see the energy and creativity of the primary school teams. We nominated a team for an award due to their outstanding culture of mentorship. Another team showcased their design journey through a fantastic album. Additionally, one team researched Lego assembly solutions for individuals with disabilities, which was commendable. It was a pleasure to be part of this fun experience and witness the learning that comes from these events.”

Helena enjoyed being a judge at the First Lego League event in Swansea. She says, “It was a real honour to be able to judge groups of such talented and enthusiastic students. As a judge, I was looking for those teams who demonstrated strong vision, design thinking, and teamwork in presenting their innovation challenges and approaches to building LEGO robots.  I saw some really inspiring examples of teams coming together to problem solve and take on board feedback; above all, they all seemed to be having so much fun, so it was a joy to be part of their day.”