With a Lego Robot to Success

Petra Reus

How do I exchange a defective robot cable with a Lego robot? How do I repair a water fountain model? These tasks and many more expected the participants in the FIRST LEGO League 2018. Under the motto “HYDRODYNAMICS” the children and young people explored the occurrence, the use, the storage, and the flow of water. And all that with a self-made and programmed Lego robot. The question for this year’s competition: Which possibilities are offered if we understand better what happens with our water?

The FIRST LEGO League is a promotion program to get children and young people enthusiastic about natural science subjects, and to arouse their interest in engineering and IT professions. The participants are led to science and technology in a playful way. Doing so, they develop creative solutions for complex problems with team spirit by working like genuine engineers on a common challenge from real life. They plan, build, program, and test a fully automatic robot to master various missions.

We interviewed one of the participating teams which is supported by KUKA Obernburg taking over the participation fees. The Robotics AG team of the Julius-Echter-Gymnasium school in Elsenfeld participates in the FIRST LEGO League with six pupils from the seventh to the ninth class. Under the supervision of their teacher Mathias Heumann the pupils did not only develop the design and the functioning of their developed robot, but also their “research assignment” about the topic water supply. This means that the pupils inform themselves about the issues with thorough investigation, find a problem and work out a corresponding proposal for solution and share that with the others. Besides the robot design and programming, the presentation is an important constituent. “The pupils profited a lot from this experience. This includes not only findings about mechanics and programming, but also how to structure a project, how to assign tasks, and above all, also how to keep an eye on the time management. Moreover, there is the experience how important it is to present the results in an adequate manner. Due to the competition the pupils evolved an extraordinary team spirit, and even new friendships were made. And, of course, participating in the competition was great fun”, Heumann describes the success in participation.

In a nutshell, participation in this popular Europe-wide event was a complete success for the pupils from Elsenfeld. Next year, the lego robot will go to space under the motto “INTO ORBIT”.

Arousing the interest of children and young people in robotics and promoting the young has been an important issue for KUKA ever since. Not only by the financial support, but also by offering lots of events such as lectures for kids and product demonstrations, for example during the European Robotics Week, the employees pass on their enthusiasm for automation to the following generations.

For more information about the European Robotics Week please see:
https://www.kuka.com/de-de/presse/events/2017/11/european-robotics-week/

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