Whirlpool UK Appliances Limited, parent company to Hotpoint, Indesit, Whirlpool and KitchenAid, has announced the return of its Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge tournament, which will welcome back 10 teams from primary schools in Peterborough, as well as five new teams fresh for the challenge.
The IET FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge is a global science and technology tournament for nine to 16 year olds, with over 67,000 teams getting involved across 110 countries every year. Now in its second year, the Whirlpool UK-funded Peterborough tournament will see 15 local teams, sponsored by Whirlpool UK, compete for the chance to progress to the national final in July 2021. Whirlpool UK team funding includes all entry fees as well as a LEGO Mindstorms or SPIKE Prime robot, worth around £450.
Set to take place on Friday 7th May 2021, for the first time ever the tournament will be held virtually and tournament hosts and the IET are busy innovating the process to find new ways to make the contest as engaging and fun as the usual physical event format. As always, the involvement of the children and teams taking part is of top priority, therefore, to help teams as they prepare for the tournament, the IET has also developed a rigorous guide for team coaches to enable them to deliver the coaching sessions safely and effectively.
The theme of this year’s FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge is RePLAY, which is based around the importance of play and being more active. Students are challenged to develop a number of key technology and life-based skills through the four components of FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge: the Robot Game, Robot Design, Core Values and the Innovation Project.
For the Robot Game, teams are required to put their teamwork and creativity to the test as they design and programme a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® or SPIKE Prime robot to complete 15 missions on a unique LEGO® challenge mat.
The Robot Design aspect of the challenge involves teams presenting their robots to the judges and explaining their design process for building the robot and the code they have written to programme it.
The FIRST® signature set of Core Values lie at the heart of the competition; teams are required to demonstrate these values throughout all aspects of the competition. They are: Inclusion, Discovery, Teamwork, Innovation, Fun and Impact.
For the Innovation Project, teams must identify a problem connected to the annual theme, RePLAY, come up with a solution and then present their ideas to the judges at the tournament. This year, for example, teams could provide a solution to the challenge of ensuring more people in the community are keeping fit and active, an issue which is particularly pertinent in the current climate.
Ian Moverley, Public Affairs Director, Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd, comments: “We have employed thousands of local people over many decades at our UK headquarters in Woodston, Peterborough and we’re really excited to engage more with our community through the funding of our FIRST® LEGO® League tournament in Peterborough for the second year running. We are committed to building on the strengths of last year’s event to create another successful and fulfilling day for all involved and, although this year’s competition is set to look slightly different than before, we will ensure that those taking part still have the same engaging experience – from goody bags to virtual tours, we’ve got lots of ideas to make this tournament extra special!”
Lowri Walton, IET Education Manager – FIRST® LEGO® League, said: “It’s fantastic that Whirlpool UK is supporting FIRST® LEGO® League for the second year in a row, welcoming even more teams than before. Regardless of the circumstances of this year’s tournaments, we’re dedicated to making FIRST® LEGO® League bigger and better than ever, ensuring that everyone can take part safely and are working hard to ensure that we can engage more children with STEM and the vital life skills that they can learn when working on projects such as this.”
There are still sponsored places available for the Whirlpool UK Peterborough tournament. Teams can be school groups, Scout groups, or simply a team of friends, but each team will need at least two adult coaches. They can be made of up to 10 individuals, aged nine to 16 years. If you would like the opportunity to take part, please get in touch with jmm PR who can pass this onto Whirlpool UK.
All COVID-19 guidance and support can be accessed here: https://education.theiet.org/first-lego-league-programmes/covid/.