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Claremont High School Academy

Can we fix it? Yes, we can!

Two Year 10 students solve the ultimate Lego challenge 

Rummaging through a box of assorted Lego and making your own creations is a fun way to develop your design and building skills, but could you program a robot – an EV3 Lego Mindstorm – to navigate its way around a 3D maze? That’s exactly what Year 10 students Cynthia Joca and Denisa Toader did on 11th January 2024 as part of the South of England Technology Challenge Day Finals at the University of Greenwich. 

During the Summer Term last year, while still in Year 9, Cynthia and Denisa’s team won the semi-finals, which is why they were invited back to the last round this term. Ten teams from schools across the South of England took part, each team representing two schools apiece. Cynthia and Denisa were paired with two students from Christ’s College Finchley and, together, their team represented North-West London. 

Their challenge was to use Lego Mindstorm software to program a robot to guide itself through a maze. Ms Thaker explains the difficulties involved: ‘They had to pick up the software quickly and work as a team to program the robot and work out if there were any flaws in the coding so that it could go through the maze perfectly. This included looking at angles, speed and timing. They also had to make the robot flash and make sounds at certain parts of the maze.’ 

The students demonstrated real teamwork, encouraging each other to embrace the challenge. ‘The group worked amazingly together,’ says Ms Thaker, ‘and they even got onto the extension activity, which was to program the robot to follow a curved path - really difficult! They completed it quite quickly and were working on the robot reversing on the curved path too, which is impressive.’  

Their hard work and determination paid off... Of the twenty competing schools, they were triumphant. ‘Cynthia and Denisa did amazingly well,’ says Ms Thaker, ‘and they were shocked they won. They never thought science and robotics was their strong suit, but they proved everyone wrong! I'm so proud of both girls.’