The Maynard robotics team retuned from the European STEM competition with the UK’s only trophy.
The Maynard Wine Gums was one of only five teams representing the UK and the sole all-girls’ team from Europe. Fifty countries were represented at the FIRST LEGO League Open European Championships with a total of 118 teams.
The competition asked participants, aged nine to 16, to build robots capable of tackling a series of missions. Over the course of two days, the judges assessed students on their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication. The girls were awarded the trophy for ‘Inspiration in Core Values’, which recognises extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit.
‘It was thoroughly well deserved,’ said the Maynard School’s head of computing, Laura Burt. ‘The girls should be incredibly proud of these achievements and it is just so special to be flying the flag for women in STEM at these prestigious events and in such successful fashion.’
Robotics at Maynard
The team of Kitty Guinness, Bella Brent, Anna Harries, Miri Cooper Wedge and Anya Hitt had worked tirelessly in the weeks beforehand to perfect their robot, Sir Killalot for the competition.
‘Given our robot was the smallest one there, we didn’t really have very high expectations,’ said Kitty Guinness. ‘It was a bit daunting to start with. Compared to the previous qualifiers, this was much bigger with so many more teams covering a huge array of cultures.
‘The atmosphere was just amazing and we all spent any free time helping each other and discussing our different projects. Although much was lost in translation with some of the teams who couldn’t speak any English. I suspect that all of this socialising accounted for winning our trophy for “inspiration”!’
‘In one of the tasks we had to stand on a table and flip the tablecloth without touching the floor. Our lifting and jumping tactics had the judges almost crying with laughter! It was a fantastic weekend and we all really enjoyed this rare opportunity to meet so many other like-minded young people from around the world,’ she added.
The Maynard girls have been invited to act as ambassadors at the FIRST LEGO League International Open Championship following the experience. The four-day STEM challenge, organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, will be held at the University of Bath later this month.