A Highlands Year 3 student will travel to the other side of the world to compete in a robotics competition next year, after excelling in a regional round of the tournament.
In June 2018, Glenquarry Public School’s Cara Sims will travel to Estonia as part of a robotics team representing Australia in the First Lego League World Championships.
The Horsley-based team, named Project Bucephalus (after the famous war horse of Alexander the Great), competed in the Australian championships at Macquarie University on December 2 and 3.
Made up of six students aged between nine and 16, they took out the category of Robot Performance with the tournament’s highest score of 390.
Project Bucephalus finished second place overall, and will be one of nine teams representing Australia in the international competition next year.
This year’s theme was Hydro Dynamics, and in addition to robot performance, the teams were also judged on robot design, a research project and on their demonstration of a range of core values, such as teamwork and friendly competition.
For their research project, the team visited Jamberoo Action Park during its winter shutdown and spoke with staff about their biggest water management challenges. As Jamberoo is not connected to town water and is a completely rain fed system, evaporation is their biggest concern.
The Project Bucephalus team spent several months working on potential solutions to the park’s evaporation, eventually settling on an energy-efficient and low-cost water recapture system.
“We came up with an idea to get the water back into the dams by putting people into ‘body dryers’ to collect the condensation,” Cara said.
“We made the judges laugh. It felt pretty great.”
First Lego League (FLL) is part of a global robotics competition involving about 255,000 students worldwide, and is designed to encourage students to apply science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to solve real-world problems.
The Project Bucephalus team is coached by Andrew and Lyndell Clark.
Andrew and Lyndell and the team spend a full day each week working on their FLL project, and all team members are also involved in teaching robotics to school students in after-school Robo Clubs.