For our last session before Christmas, and before the stress of practising continues, we enjoyed an after school movie night, celebrating our win at the regional competition.The Puzzlers were comfy on cushions with popcorn and warm chocolates with marshmallows and whipped cream while they watched the Muppets Christmas Carol.
After 3 months of hard work, and (for some) EVERY lunchtime since September, the day finally arrived on December 6th.
Kitted in their lab coats, glasses and bow ties, the Harton Puzzlers travelled to The Word to compete against teams from all over the region – including secondary schools! The first few rounds with the robot were disappointing, as we didn’t score as highly as we would have liked. After their first robot game, the pupils scored technical points, which involved talking about their robot design and strategy. This usually take about 5 minutes, but the boys talked for 10 minutes!
Next the children had 5 minutes for a costume change and got ready for their presentation. After many practises at school, they delivered it perfectly! It was clear, loud and confident. The presentation even included a “live” video call from an astronaut on the International Space Station.
There was a teamwork task, where the children had to work together effectively in order to complete a Lego building challenge. After lunch, we found out we were in the semi final!
The Puzzlers got through to the semi finals- joint 3rd with St. Gregory’s. They had 2 more chances to prove their robot’s skills. In their second and final attempt, the boys protested to the judges over a ruling – supported by teachers from different schools – and the Puzzlers scraped into the finals with 72 points.
In the finals, the Puzzlers competed against Oakwood Comprehensive School – who kindly offered up their extra attachments, which allowed the Harton to scorecard more points. After three more rounds of the robot game, the Puzzlers’ score got higher and higher with each attempt. The trophy for Robot Table Champion went to the well deserved Oakwood!
Every team was awarded at least one trophy, for skills such as teamwork, presentation, tactics and co-operation, but the Harton Puzzlers were delighted to find out that they had won the overall competition! After so much work from our team, there were many tears of happiness and shouts of joy.
After months of preparation, including: selecting new teammates; talking to water professionals, robot programming and reprogramming when things went wrong; survey taking, poster making and many more tasks, the day was finally upon us. On the 7th of December the Harton Puzzlers took part in the First Lego League’s Hydrodynamics challenge, as South Shields Museum.
We started our day with practises in ‘the Pit’, a room where all the groups were based. Our initial runs proved less successful than they were at school. Our first Robot challenge on the table gave us a score of 45 points. This was then followed by our technical talk – explaining our robot design and strategy for completing our table run.
After a brief break in the Pit, we had to complete our presentation to the panel of judges. We talked through our idea to help the human water cycle – a water butt for using rain water to flush the toilet. We used bottles to show the amount of water it takes to flush a toilet (7.27L per flush!) and made a model made from Lego (obviously) to show how our design works.
Next we had a long break until our next robot challenge, so we spent this time with half the group practising and altering the programming, and the other half talking to the other groups and getting them to take part in our Wayne Drop video game. They had to try and get Wayne from the clouds to our water butt, but avoiding leaves and birds flying past. Everybody got very competitive when playing and wanted to make it onto the leader board – including the organisers and Mrs Ratcliffe, when she visited us for support.
Our next robot challenge proved better than the first, with a new score of 50 points (5 were deducted because we had to pick up the robot from a mistake). Straight after this we had our ‘Teamwork’ challenge. We were given a task, to sort out a box of Lego and show how well we can work together as a team. This was followed by our final robot challenge with a higher score of 60 – missing out of 15 points from the tripod not landing in the desired position.
Here is the video of our final robot challenge:
We unfortunately missed out of the semi-finals – coming joint 5th – by only 5 points! We watched the semis and finals – with the Acers coming first!
The final part of our day was the presentations and awards ceremony. We did not win the day, however we did not come home empty handed. For our second year running, we won the Teamwork Trophy! Something we were incredibly pleased to achieve.
Our year 6’s are looking forward to a lunchtime outside, and the year 5’s will be keeping an eye out for the year 4 children they might want to join the team next year.
On Wednesday the 9th of November, the Lego League Harton Puzzlers had a visit from a water expert to help them with their project. John Robson from Northumbrian water listened to our ideas and helped us to develop them further.
We shared our idea of an ‘Eco-friendly’ toilet flush!
When it rains, the rainwater runs down the drainpipes and collects into a drum. We can then use the collected rainwater to flush our toilet.
John quizzed us on our ideas – for example, how would we get the water to an upstairs toilet?
We addressed this by installing a pump in the drum. John also helped us to extend this idea further – by suggesting we install a turbine in the drainpipe. This would allow us to generate electricity (meaning our product powers itself!).
Furthermore, we have the option to use a float in the drum. This will generate further power through the raising and lowering of the water: allowing our product work on renewable energy, and on a very small scale lowering CO2 use.
We have taken on board his ideas and developed our idea to match this expert advice, which we believe will make our product more appealing, eco-friendly and an overall better product.
This week we finalised our designs for the app, following homework we did over the half term.
The whole afterschool session involved us making our badges to sell in school to raise both money and awareness for the Red Squirrels and our project.
We only had one accident, with the paper cutter, but we worked really well together. We had a real production line going when working, from cutting the images to loading up the press, to crushing the badge into shape.
We will be selling them next week, following our KS2 assembly to explain our project.
Throughout the week, we have been displaying posters around the school with red squirrel ‘Did you know’ facts. We chose our places carefully, to ensure people would see them. Examples included the entrance to our nursery, at the water fountain and on doors that lead to the toilet.
By providing the school with informative Red Squirrel facts, we are raising awareness about them.
We also carried out a survey with 18 KS1 and KS2 classes, to find out: if they use apps on their phones; do they go out using their phones to take photos; and if they would like to help the Red Squirrels.
Thankfully, 387 children (out of 540 children) said that they would like to help the Red Squirrel. That is 72% of our school! Who would resist helping those cute animals?
With our new badge maker arrived, we spend our evening session finalising our badge designs. There was lots of copying, chocolate biscuits, citrus refreshments, complaining, chatting, clarifying (over the difference between acorns and pinecones) colouring and commenting (especially on Mr Forster’s design). Time for some choosing and cutting out for production of our badges.
This week is the second week of Lego League and we have all eight people here!
We are making posters about red squirrels to put around the school. We are also starting the Animal Allies project.
Last week we were given homework: To write facts about red squirrels. This was to help us with our posters.
Leeanda, Sofiya, Owen and Mathew are working on the posters. Jake D and Jake J are working very hard on the presentation to show the school what we are doing. The PowerPoint outlines our ideas as to how we might save the squirrels.
Lastly, we are all designing badges to sell around school! The money from the badges will go towards the cost of adopting a red squirrel.
First meeting of the Harton Puzzlers had 6 members attending.
Our first session was finding out about red squirrells and how people interact with them. Using the iPads, we are found out information and facts about red squirrels. Our first project idea was to build a high bridge so they can cross the road safely. Then we found out that the main way people help squirrels is to help charities take care of squirrells by tagging where their habitats are on a website. Our idea is now based on this interaction.
Some facts that we found out about red squirrels tonight are:
- They are only 140,000 red squirrels in Britain and they is 2.5 miliion grey squirrels.
- Did you know grey squirrels over take red squirrels living habbits?
- Did you squirrels only live up to three years in the wild, if in captivity, one can live for up to ten years.
- Did you know the grey squirrels spread a disease called ‘Squirrelpox’? If red squirrels get squirrelpox, they will die, but it does not affect the grey squirrels.
We have also came up with lots of ideas to share our ideas around the school and community to help the squirrels.
- Trying to arrange a trip to Woodthorn, as they have red squirrel feeders.
- Arrange meetings with experts – either in person or on Skype.
- Create a badge to sell to children in school to raise money for charity and raise awareness.
We have also been given a homework task to find ‘Did you know’ facts about red squirrels to display around school.