On 29 of November ACG Strathallan Karaka hosted the 6th Annual FIRST LEGO League New Zealand Championship. 27 teams of children from around New Zealand competed in a robotics competition designed to inspire and excite students about science and technology. Each year the competition theme changes and teams must research a real world problem based on the topic.
This year's theme is "WORLD CLASS" where teams must investigate how students will learn in the future.
The FIRST programme focuses on a fun learning environment and this year was no exception. Robots of all shapes and sizes competed in the autonomous robot competition along with project presentations and teamwork exercises to see who would be crowned New Zealand FLL champion.
"The Referees" team from Papakura were crowned the New Zealand champions this year with an outstanding all round performance. The Referees scored almost 100 points more in the robot competition than Team Hash n' Dash from Christchurch who claimed third place. Team Antimatter from Pukekohe took second place with a strong performance in all areas of the competition.
Next year sees a significant change to the New Zealand FLL season with a move to an early September competition. This change means a much longer season (almost a full year) rather than the short intense eight week programme currently. This will allow teams and in particular schools to integrate programming and research skills into a year long timetable.