Dereham school to host technology challenge

Neatherd High School in Dereham will host the Norfolk round of the FIRST Lego League next January. P

Neatherd High School in Dereham will host the Norfolk round of the FIRST Lego League next January. Pictured is Olaf Deekiri Kewage Don. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Creative and imaginative students at Neatherd High School in Dereham will be hoping their home advantage helps them to success when they take part in global science and technology competition in January.

Pictured with Adam Crowhurst is head of design and technology Jason Chapman. Picture: Ian Burt

Pictured with Adam Crowhurst is head of design and technology Jason Chapman. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

For the first time the school will be hosting a regional round of the FIRST LEGO league.

This is a competition for students of science, technology, engeering and maths (STEM) and sees over 250,000 young people taking part each year across the world.

It is run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and sees teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, and challenge them to develop a solution.

They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology, then compete on a table-top playing field.

Sergio Mendes, Henry Furse and Daniel Allinson. Picture: Ian Burt

Sergio Mendes, Henry Furse and Daniel Allinson. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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Along their discovery journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges.

The Neatherd students normally travel to Duxford Aerodrome as their nearest venue to take part in the tournament but this year the attraction, near Cambridge, is having a refit so Jason Chapman, head of design and technology, submitted a bid to hold it at the school, and was successful.

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'The STEM Club we run at Neatherd High School has competed in the FIRST LEGO League for a number of years,' he said. 'We have always enjoyed the event, and have learnt a lot so were disappointed to find out that Duxford were not able to host it this year, as the closest venue other than that would be central London.

'So we proposed to host it at Dereham Neatherd High School and FIRST and the IET are happy for us to offer this as the Norfolk regional venue.'

A number of teams from schools around the region will compete at the Neatherd on January 29.

The challenge is to look at animal allies, and and what might become possible when we learn to help each other.

Regional winners will go forward to a UK and Ireland final on Sunday, February 26 at the University of West of England Exhibition and Conference Centre in Bristol.

* Is your school taking part in an interesting challenge? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk.

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