Wednesday 19 June 2019

Irish school to hit the world stage after reaching US final of the Lego championships

Students from the Wicklow Montessori Primary School
Students from the Wicklow Montessori Primary School
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Students at an Irish Montessori school are packing their bags for the US after they reached the final of the First Lego League robotics world championships.

The students from Wicklow Montessori Primary School will be travelling to Detroit to attend the final of the world renowned competition April 24-27.

Wicklow Montessori Primary School
Wicklow Montessori Primary School

The eight students, aged between 11 and 13, advanced to the final after winning an overall award at the First Lego league UK and Ireland Finals in Bristol last weekend.

The winning team was made up of Mya Neiland, Hugo Sloan- Kelly, Kiah Savage, Cillian Findlay-Byrne, Anna Mooney, James Grant, Lucy McCann and Senan Sloan-Kelly.

Teacher Hayley Fitzpatrick told that the children are "overwhelmed" and "excited".

"The competition started in Galway and then advanced to the UK league. The next step is the world championships in Detroit. There are four main areas in the competition; robot design, robot game, project and core values.

"The robot area is based on engineering and coding, while the project side this year was based on hydrodynamics.

"Our project entry looks at what happens to all the water confiscated at airport security check-ins. Travelling to Dublin airport to monitor behaviour and measure the problem, the pupils came up with a range of recycling solutions from watering plants to washing aeroplanes and even, through the use of special filters, reusing it for drinking.

"Then the core values section focuses on teamwork and enthusiasm. In Bristol our school won an overall award for for core values. The children even composed and performed a song  about what core values mean to us. It helped us to qualify for the world championships in the US."

Hayley said that the Wicklow school will join over 100 teams from many countries at the First Lego League world championship events in Detroit.

"The children are so excited to go over. Some of them have never been to the US and it'll be the first time that some of them will be away from their parents. It's a huge thing for them. The event is aimed more at transition year students so our kids will be very small in comparison."

The Wicklow school has competed in the event for five years and this is the second time in a row that they advanced to the final. Last year's sixth class advanced to the world championship event in Bath, England.

"Last year at the finals we won an overall judge's award based on our core values which were were delighted with. We're shocked and delighted to be given the opportunity to go again and the kids are all so excited. It's four days of fun and cultural bonding for all the kids where they meet teams from all over the world."

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