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Greenwood High students once again proved to be the best in the world by winning 2 trophies in the FIRST LEGO League International Open Championship 2017 for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) skills held in UK recently. More than 700 aspiring young engineers from over 90 teams aged 9 – 16 and representing 36 countries worldwide battled it out in the Championship which was held in the UK for the first time. The event was organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in partnership with the University of Bath.

Greenwood High team was appreciated for this astounding feat. The team (Aditya P. Uchil, Aditya Vasisht, Akshay B. Sivaraman, Ratan Shankar, Rachita Rajesh & Sahana Athreya) demonstrated the best performance in robot game, project presentation, robot design and core values. The team was also appreciated by all judges for their sound technical knowledge and also for their display in the booth. Greenwood High team was placed 2nd and missed the 1st place by 7 points in the key category of the competition which is “Robot Performance / Robot game”. The school team competed with teams that came from all over the world and these teams were the best teams of their respective countries.

Robot Performance Award – The primary and most important part of this competition was the Robot game. The challenge was for the Robot to complete as many animal themed missions on the challenge table as possible within 2:30 minutes. The robot must be completely autonomous and you cannot touch the robot unless it is in base. Any human interference while the robot is out of base would result in penalties. All of our attachments including our Robot were built completely from scratch using our own innovative ideas. This experience of building and programming a robot from scratch has truly been a great experience. It has taught the team a lot about engineering, problem solving and programming among many other life skills that they gained. The judges said that their final Robot game run was fantastic and sensational!

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a global science and technology competition with over 250,000 young people taking part each year. The FLL Open Championship event aims to inspire young people and the general public to engage with STEM subjects and promote awareness of engineering and encourage more young people to consider careers in STEM. It also provide teams from around the world with the opportunity to have fun, engage in a challenging competition and develop a range of key life skills. It increases their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics which is fast becoming part and parcel of the forward-looking school curriculum.

“The open world championship allowed us to interact with teams from around the world and it was a highly energetic, dynamic atmosphere that brought together like minded students from across the globe. It was an exhilarating experience during the opening ceremony when all the teams were dressed in their traditional costumes, representing their country. It was also amazing to learn about how many teams had designed their own robots and had come up with their own innovative ideas for accomplishing the missions. Thus sharing of knowledge, befriending many teams and experiencing different cultures during the competition was a great highlight of the competition.” said Aditya Vasisht & Akshay B. Sivaraman, participants from Greenwood High.

Aditya P. Uchil, participant from Greenwood High said, “It was an immensely engaging and knowledge-gaining experience, which taught us numerous new skills. The robot game really elevated our analytical and logical thinking abilities as we had to complete various challenges using our robot. We encountered many problems at the competition itself and that is when our thinking was really put to test. The project has really opened up a new world to us, and since this year’s theme was ‘Animal Allies’ it has taught us how even the smallest of creatures(in our case the bees) can make the biggest difference in our world & livelihood.“

The team also secured a 2nd place in another category : “Project Presentation”.

Project Presentation Award – The project was to highlight any animal and come up with an innovative solution to save them. The team chose the “bee” as bees are integral to human survival as they pollinate a third of the world’s crops. However they have been dying in large numbers lately due to human interference. So, to help beekeepers, the team built their very own device “iBeeHive “ that fits into any beehive and connects to the beekeeper’s phone. The iBeeHive allows the beekeeper to remotely monitor the health of his bees and kill pests that infest the hive. The judges told the team that their presentation was engaging, confident, creative and enthusiastic!
Ratan Shankar, participant from Greenwood High said, “It was mind blowing sharing the platform with students from different countries and needless to say it was a huge learning experience not only about the Robot design & game but also about the different cultures from different countries.”

“At the event, we were able to share our experience with many environmentalists and experts in the field. Not only were we given a platform to spread awareness and gain support from other teams on saving the bees but we had also made it a point to interact with other teams and learn from their projects.”, said Sahana Athreya, Greenwood High participant.

Rachita Rajesh, Greenwood High participant said, “In the process of implementing innovative solution for the Project (we call it “iBeeHive”), we gained immense knowledge and experience about electronic components and new technology as well as the difficulties faced by bee keepers and the need for healthy bee keeping.”

Teams taking part at the competitions had to work together to identify, research and solve a real-world issue. The team also had to develop a solution to a problem that they had identified. This year’s project theme was ‘Animal Allies’. Each team had to create a way of improving the interaction between humans and their chosen animal, developing their idea through research and collaboration with experts. They had to design, build and program a LEGO robot to solve missions in a time limit, each representing a different aspect of animal-human interaction. The children were also required to demonstrate positive participation, skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and collaboration skills while also sharing their culture, core values, making friends and having fun!
Pradeep Uchil, an Education entrepreneur and Mrudul Uchil, proud parents of Aditya P. Uchil, one of the participants from Green Wood High, said: “We have attended a lot of interesting education events, competitions and conferences and we feel that FLL International Open Championship is one of the best events that we have ever attended. This is a very good event to encourage students to challenge themselves in STEM. This competition encourages students to think critically, assimilate information and sharpen their teamwork and communication skills. It teaches students real-world problem solving skills and helps them become future leaders. These so-called “soft skills” – such as decision-making, problem-solving and communication skills – are highly valued by employers. We are also very happy and thankful for the excellent support extended by Greenwood High school to all the participants.”