A team of four pupils from St Aidan’s High School wins Blackpoolrobo 2019 Competition against tough opponents. Pictured above: The winning team from St Aidans CofE High School. (L to R): Toby Jones, Matthew Collinson, Neil Ireland – Director of Technology & Computing, Adam Catley and Curtis Fisher along with Theo Blackburn, outreach officer for sponsors FutureU.
Eight schools from across the Fylde took part in the competition organised by Blackpool and the Fylde College. It took place in their Advanced Technology Centre at the B&FC Bispham Campus.
St Aidan’s High School wins Blackpoolrobo 2019 Competition
St Aidan’s came away with the top prize of £1,000 along with a trophy. Neil Ireland, Director of Technology & Computing at the school said: “It was a close call and came down to the final round. It’s great to come away with first prize.”
Second place went to Armfield Academy in Blackpool, earning the school a prize of £750. Hodgson Academy, another Poulton school, came away with the third prize of £500.
Blackpoolrobo is a robotics competition for secondary school students from Key Stage 3. Their challenge is to build an innovative, robust robot and compete in a pre-designed arena with space and time constraints. It’s a demanding challenge for team members. They work together, using their academic knowledge and technical skills.
Can you build a robot?
The six-stage challenge involved each team building and programming a robot that could perform a series of different tasks based on key landmarks around the Fylde. These ranged from feeding animals at Blackpool Zoo to navigating complex routes at the Pleasure Beach. Between each stage the robot had to be redesigned and re-programmed for the new and different next task.
Organiser of the event, B&FC engineering and science lecturer Nicole Dean, commented: “The Blackpool Robo competition is really important for our STEM* engagement with high school students. The aim is to provide them with an innovative and stimulating task to work towards. The ideas is that it develops their interests in subjects such as engineering, robotics and programming. Students will see that these subjects are diverse and exciting.
“Many high school students have a preconceived image of engineering and may not consider this as a future career choice. Hopefully by engaging them in this competition and showing them a different, fun side to engineering and programming, we can expand their views and build an interest into a future career choice in a STEM related area.”
Getting young people noticed
Blackpoolrobo 2019 was sponsored by BAE Systems and the Lancashire careers information organisation FutureU. Support was also provided by the leading engineering bodies The Institution of Mechanical Engineers and The Institution of Engineering and Technology.
The competition was judged by two highly-qualified and experienced professional engineers, Keith Ridley from the Institution of Engineering and Technology and Mark Stephens, Programme Leader for Engineering at B&FC, along with Theo Blackburn from FutureU.
*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.
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