30 June 2022
Farnborough Hill is celebrating national success once more, with its Year 9 Robotics team beating over 300 UK schools to triumph at the National EEP Robotics Competition.
The team travelled to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre on Thursday 23 June and prepared for the first challenges; a presentation about artificial intelligence and its impact on the environment, and a second presentation about their robots and design choices.
They then faced the speed and control challenge, where the robot had to cover a distance of 12 metres in the fastest possible time. The team achieved a time of 11 seconds, including penalties for crashing into a Duplo wall. The robot also somehow performed an amazing flip (guided by Niamh), crossing the finish line in style.
Throughout the day pupils also had to complete a teamwork challenge, which consisted of exploring the Big Bang Fair and talking to various engineers about their jobs. After lunch came the biggest test of them all: the robot challenge mat. Completing eight challenges in five and a half minutes was no small feat, but the girls thought they had performed better in practices.
The girls then had an hour to explore the fair before the results were announced. They waited patiently for Farnborough Hill’s name to be called, but it never was; that is until the last prize which was for the winner of the entire competition. Farnborough Hill’s team were completely astounded to have won the national competition, beating over 300 other schools from across the UK. The pupils even got interviewed.
One of the team, Laura, reflected on the day saying: “It is definitely good for building resilience because we did most of our code through trial and error so if we hit a wall we would just tweak the code and try again.”
The Year 9 girls are all enormously proud of their achievement, especially considering that it was also International Women in Engineering Day, and they thoroughly enjoyed the day. The pupils extended a huge thank you to Mrs Hazel Burrows and Mr Alan Rees for helping them grow in their Robotics journey.
Niamh commented: “It is such a fun experience. I have learnt so much and it just feels so good when you are actually competing the challenges because you have worked so hard for it and you are getting really good results”.
The Robotics’ team leader, Subject Leader of Physics Mr Alan Rees, expressed how pleased he was with the result: “I am in awe of all the girls who have achieved this in such a short space of time. They incorporated knowledge from their curriculum subjects to great effect. Their presentation included details about water retention from Geography as well as root growth from Biology. They applied ratios from Mathematics effectively to understand the gearing of their robot and adjust their program in proportion.
“Whilst the programming and engineering were the major focus of the competition, our girls nonetheless brought their usual Farnborough Hill dramatic flair and musicality to the competition with many hours of careful programming tones, so that their robot would sing out Rick Astley’s infamous hit. Their tireless work has been a privilege to observe and they very much deserve this victory against some excellent competition.”