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Last weekend saw the first of (hopefully many) new face to face STEM events. In my role as a STEM Ambassador I love to volunteer my time to help schools and youth groups with activities that will hopefully lead children to take an interest in technology based subjects within their education and future careers.

Saturday saw me volunteer as a judge as part of the national First Lego League championships at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc in Dundee, in conjunction with the IET Scotland. The 2021-22 season was themed as ‘Cargo Connect’ and set the teams of children the challenge of creating a robot that would navigate around the gaming mat with cargo themed obstacles and challenges. As well as that each of the 25 teams who reached the finals had to work on an Innovation Project that centred around solving a cargo and transport related problem.

In my role as judge, alongside my fellow judges Susan and Steven from The Verdancy Group, I had to look at what the teams had produced for their Innovation Project. I was also there to find out more about their Robot Design and the challenges they’d be attempting on the mat, seeing how they’d designed add-ons and attachments for their robots and how they’d used programming or sensors for navigation and movement. We also looked at how the groups worked together as a team for their Core Values scoring as the event is very much about inclusivity and friendly competition.

It was amazing to see the effort that the teams had made and the improvements they’d made to their robots over the course of the challenge to make them better for the finals day. Their enthusiasm on the day was overflowing and certainly catching! Teamwork makes the dream work!

As well as the presentations, the robot games and their core values discussions, there were also a number of stands at the event where the children could take part in other STEM based activities and competitions. In particular I loved the stand where Robot Wars veteran Jamie McHarg displayed his replica house robots Shunt and Dead Metal.

A massive congratulations go out to the STEM Troopers from McLaren High School who won the overall prize on the day as well as having an incredible score of 480 on the games table. I’d like to wish them well when they head to Brazil for the World Finals in August!

I can’t wait for the 2022-23 season to come round, where the theme will be Energize & Superpowered, where the kids will learn about energy, how it’s produced and stored and look at ways to innovate energy creation in the future. I’m sure many of the children involved in these events will go on to have sparkling careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematical jobs if the energy from Saturday’s event was anything to go by.

Kirsty Pryer, Managing Director