avatar

3, 2, 1, LEGO … !

On Saturday 19 November, The Cube played host once again to FIRST® LEGO® League, welcoming 360 students and their team coaches, parents, teachers and peers to QUT’s Science and Engineering Centre. The energy and enthusiasm of the participants was palpable and just one of the reasons FIRST® LEGO® League is a highlight of the year, transforming the Science and Engineering Centre into a hive of activity!

This year’s challenge was based on the theme: ANIMAL ALLIES. Teams of up to 10 students researched, programmed, and prepared from August through November ‘to think of people and animals as allies in the quest to make life better for everyone’. The tournament involved:

  • 360 students 
  • 220 parents, teachers, grandparents, peers, siblings … 
  • 108 (2.5 minute) robot game rounds 
  • 52 staff and volunteers 
  • 41 team coaches
  • 36 teams from 22 locations (see team map below)
  • 36 robots 
  • 12 award recipients
  • 6 robot game tables
  • 4 practice tables
  • 4 concurrent activities (Robot Game, Robot Design, Project, Core Values)
  • 4 national qualifiers 
  • And many LEGO pieces! 

fll-maps

One of the team coaches, Jackie Child, captured the spirit of the tournament experience in her article, Our FIRST LEGO League Journey.

Twelve awards were presented this year to the following teams:

Champions Award – iCode 22
Robot Performance – OLA Cybermonkeys
Robot Design (Mechanical Design) – Robros
Robot Design (Programming) – RobotIGGS
Robot Design (Strategy and Innovation) – Lego Central
Project (Research) – MGH Robots 2
Project (Innovation) – iCode New Dawn
Project (Presentation) – Sharks
Core Values (Gracious Professionalism) – Lasiorhinus krefftii Mark II
Core Values (Teamwork) – Hillbrook Team 1
Core Values (Inspiration) – Omega Dragons
Judge Award – Padua College 1 

firstlegoleague

Those selected for the Nationals at Macquarie University, Sydney, on 10 December, are: 

  • iCode 22
  • iCode New Dawn
  • Padua College 2
  • OLA Cybermonkeys 

Congratulations again to all participating teams – until next year!

Jacina Leong and Elise Wilkinson – Co–Directors, FIRST LEGO League, and Public Programs, The Cube

avatar

Big ideas abound at FIRST LEGO League 2015

On Saturday 21 November, over 500 children descended on The Cube to compete in this year’s FIRST® LEGO® League ‘Trash Trek’ challenge.

The Cube was abuzz with the excitement and passion of 31 school teams about to embark on the final leg of their Trash Trek challenge, the culmination of months of research, preparation and hard work.

LEGO_LEAGUE_batch1-6

Our ‘Trash Trekkers’ were joined in spirit by over 233,000 children across 80 countries who were also participating in this year’s FIRST® LEGO® League Trash Trek challenge.

LEGO_LEAGUE_batch1-4

We were lucky enough to have the Minister for Science and Innovation, Hon Leeanne Enoch, join us on the day to check out all the young innovators in action.

A big congratulations to the five teams who qualified for the national competition in Sydney: ATC Green Robros, iCode 22, Tech Wizards, Waskally Wilston Twash Twekers, and BSHS Cerise. Check out all winning teams below.

FLL15 Winners

No matter the outcome, all teams showed tremendous spirit, enthusiasm and tenacity, and all have a lot to be proud of. We hope to see many familiar faces back for the 2016 FIRST® LEGO® League.

LEGO_LEAGUE_batch1

Thank you to everyone involved – our  volunteers, team coaches, parents and participants – your hard work, enthusiasm and gracious professionalism made the day one to remember!

The Cube would like to acknowledge the support of the QUT Faculty of Education, QUT Caboolture and Grace Lutheran College.

Want to see more? Find out what it’s really like to compete in FIRST® LEGO® League thanks to Nick Houghton, Leader of Pedagogy at Holy Family Primary School in Skennars Head, and his two 2015 FIRST® LEGO® League Grant-winning teams, iCode 21 and iCode 22. Following the teams’ journey from in-school preparation and training, to participating at QUT The Cube on the day, the video is a must-see for any schools or community groups considering becoming a part of FIRST® LEGO® League in 2016.

Holy Family Primary Schools’ FIRST® LEGO® League video can be viewed here.

Images by Kate O’Sullivan.

avatar

Creative Lab: from the perspective of… Jess Schofield

Pre-service teacher Jess Schofield shares her experience at Creative Lab, held at The Cube and Queensland Museum last month.

Jess: The Creative Lab program at QUT The Cube was a chance for educators from various fields to collaborate on ways to implement STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) in the classroom. As a pre-service teacher in the areas of mathematics and English the sessions were a great way to further open my mind to ways technology can be utilised across all disciplines in education.

I have been a facilitator of the LEGO Education programs at The Cube since their inception in 2013. At Creative Lab, I had the opportunity to facilitate the Design Engineering sessions using the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 technology. This tool allows for all disciplines of STEAM to come together under the banner of problem-solving and project based learning.

I’ve had many discussions in recent months about what problem-solving can be defined as and how these skills can be acquired in a classroom situation. In maths, we often give students “worded questions” and label it as “problem-solving” or “real-life”. But in reality, the only problem they have to solve is to interpret the words and uncover the routine, knowledge-based problem.

At Creative Lab, I had conversations with teachers and curriculum writers about how true problem-solving should involve open-ended questions, creative responses and multiple answers. The Design Engineering workshop was a space to further explore this and the EV3 robots proved a perfect tool to guide that exploration.

PostCreativeLab_Soundbyte_JessS-02

Design Engineering at Creative Lab was a space where networking took place and ideas were shared throughout the room. The participants had varying levels of experience, came from a variety of educational fields and each had their own expectations and outcomes from the session. Challenges were set to have robots manoeuvre objects within a Mars exploration context and using a combination of programming skills and physical design features. Although each of the eight groups was set the same challenge, eight very different solutions were presented. Participants went through the process of brainstorming, prototyping, testing, improving then giving and receiving critical feedback. There was a focus on teamwork and playing to strengths of individuals.

The conversations that were had around STEAM in the classroom were beneficial to all participants. We had the opportunity to share our own experiences of how the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots have been used within our own schools and contexts, how they could be used in the future and make connections with colleagues to draw on the strengths and expertise of others.

As a pre-service teacher, Creative Lab was most beneficial for the networks and connections made with fellow teachers and education professionals and to gather ideas to implement robotics in high school classrooms. I feel competent in my knowledge of robotics and I’ve facilitated a wide variety of workshops to many audiences in the past. Moving forward, my goal is to implement long term robotics programs in high school settings. Creative Lab was the first step towards that goal. The program gave me the connections and resources to continue implementing STEAM, problem-solving and project-based learning in my future teaching and learning.