Pupils set to ‘master natural disasters’

Young people from schools across South Wales have signed up to the ultimate LEGO Science and Technology competition.

The FIRST® LEGO® League makes its mark in Wales for the very first time in December (10th) thanks to Swansea University’s Technocamps project in collaboration with EESW (Engineering Education Scheme Wales) and the IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology).

This year’s (2013) Nature’s Fury Challenge will see children (9-16yrs) explore the awe-inspiring storms, quakes, waves and more that we call natural disasters as part of their first experience with   FIRST® LEGO® League  which will be held at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

FIRST® LEGO® League is a global science and technology competition for teams of students, to encourage an interest in real world issues and develop skills that are crucial for their future careers.  Students can pit themselves against other teams from around the UK and Ireland to be the best in the UK and then perhaps the world!

Young people will get to learn and develop new skills in design and technology, programming and control, mathematics, research, presentation skills, strategic thinking and teamwork.  Using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology pupils will need to complete different challenges ranging from ‘The robotic game’, ‘The technical presentation’, ‘The research project’, and a ‘Teamwork exercise’.

Pupils will discover what can be done when intense natural events meet in the places people live, work and play.

Professor Faron Moller, Director of Technocamps based at Swansea University, said, ‘Technocamps runs a very successful robotics competition at the annual Big Bang Cymru.  However, this competition has global status and we are delighted to join forces with EESW and the IET to give young people in Wales the opportunity to be part of such a great challenge.’

Bob Cater, CEO of the Engineering Education Scheme Wales, said, it is very appropriate to be joining Technocamps to promote the First Lego League in Wales.  Computer control is such an important aspect of contemporary industry that we must develop an interest in this technology to enhance the work we do to encourage pupils to take up careers in engineering and manufacturing.

  • Technocamps - Led by Swansea University in partnership with the Universities of Bangor, Aberystwyth and Glamorgan, Technocamps is backed by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government and focuses on a range of topics including robotics, games and software development; as well as animation and digital forensics.

  • Technocamps has established a pan Wales programme of activities and workshops designed to raise awareness amongst pupils (11-19) of potential career opportunities available in a range of computer science, technology and engineering disciplines and encourage them to study STEM with a view to pursuing such opportunities.  Visit: www.technocamps.com or www.itwales.com for more information.

  • The £3.2bn Structural Funds programmes 2007-2013 in Wales include the Convergence programmes for West Wales and the Valleys (the successor to Objective 1), and the Regional Competitiveness and Employment programmes for East Wales. The programmes are delivered through the Welsh Government and are aimed at creating employment opportunities and boosting economic growth.

  • The Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW) offers a range of activities to encouragepupils to take a greater interest in engineering and in so doing realise how important science and mathematics are. The activities include the F1 Challenge and a sixth form activity, which is designed to encourage sixth form students to study engineering courses in further or higher education. The scheme operates through local companies setting research and development briefs related to real industrial problems for teams of several year 12 students. The students set about solving these problems, over a period of about six months (October – April), in co-operation with engineers and scientists from the link companies. By giving students a positive experience of working with professional engineers and scientists in an industrial setting, the programme shows them that STEM areas are diverse and stimulating, and can provide an intellectually challenging career. EESW is also backed by the European Social Fund for its STEM Cymru project to enhance its work in the Convergence area of Wales.  Visit www.stemcymru.org.uk