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KMF LEGO robot champions

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School pupils from across the region of Staffordshire competed to become Lego robot champions in KMF's Young Engineer of the Year competition, held at Staffordshire University.

The overall winner of the Young Engineer of the Year was the team from Endon High School.

Endon's Design and Technology teacher, Mr S Mitchell, said: "KMF's Young Engineer programme has captured the imagination of a group of students and inspired them in a way I could not have imagined. The Lego kits KMF have supplied us with have simply transformed the way we can deliver Design and Technology and the way my students can learn and work."

The annual event brings together education and industry to engage youngsters through engineering and promote career development in the STEM subjects. Precision Sheet Metal company KMF launched the initiative four years ago, and previous competitions have seen school pupils design 3D printed gadgets and even launch scientific experiments into space.

This year's competition has challenged Year 10 pupils to design, build and program real-life robots from scratch using pieces of Lego. They then had to race against the clock to get the machines to complete animal themed tasks on a pre-designed First Lego League competition board. The idea was to give students a realistic view of what a future career in engineering could entail by setting them a real-life brief over nine months.

Jason Bradbury, best known for his time presenting Channel 5's 'The Gadget Show', hosted the event last week and also took on a LEGO Robot battle of his own, competing against a team of KMF engineering apprentices.

The robot challenge was just one element of the competition. Young people were also measured on teamwork skills and had to deliver a presentation to a group of judges.

A seven-strong squad from Ormiston Meridian Academy Sandon, came up with an environmentally-friendly product to help solitary bees find somewhere to nest, which later won them the award of 'Project Presentation'.

Fifteen-year-old Sandon student Freya Evans, said: "It's a little bee house that we've called the 'beekind box'. It's made out of wood and bamboo. We've made 100 of them to sell."

As part of this year's sponsorship package, every school will have the opportunity to enter next year's First Lego League competition with the aim of reaching the world finals in the USA.

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