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29 June 2006 PR 06/77

Lego inspires the engineers of the future

The ever popular children’s toy, Lego, is providing the inspiration for the engineers of the future thanks to an exciting competition organised by Loughborough University.

The competition has involved some 80 children from eight primary schools in Loughborough. It started back in March when each of the schools were issued with special Lego kits. They have been challenged to build robots from the kits based on an ocean theme.

The project culminates today (Thursday 29 June) with the school teams visiting the University campus. First the robots will compete against each other to complete various tasks. The teams will then have to explain their choices in building their robot. They will also make presentations on an aspect of the ocean and team working. Points will be allocated for each of the areas. There will be a winner in each category as well as an overall winner.

Current Engineering students have been involved in the project to provide help and advice to the schools.

Co-ordinated by the University’s Faculty of Engineering, the competition idea came from a national and international competition called the First Lego League as Lesley Davis from the Faculty explains: “The final of the First Lego League was held at the Ford College on campus earlier this year and as a result of that I developed the idea of having our own mini version for the local primary schools. This project fits in nicely with various aspects of the school curriculum and whilst University is quite some time away for these children this is an ideal opportunity to communicate about the breadth of subjects in engineering and the challenges involved in the subject. We very much hope that this fun project will ignite interest in engineering.”

Earlier on in the week students from Garendon High School and Limehurst High School also visited the University campus to take part in a ‘Paper Planes Day’. Goff Tearle, an academic from Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering introduced the concept of flight and the students then went on to build paper planes in teams. There was a competition to find the team that achieved the longest distance flight. The day also saw the teams to create rubber powered darts and there was a competition to find the team that achieved the longest time flight. The day culminated with demonstrations of a powered model aircraft, helicopter and acrobatic model aircraft.

Ends

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Notes to editors

  1. The Primary Schools involved in the project are: Cobden, Holywell, Loughborough C of E, Mountfields, Outwards Edge, Shelthorpe, Stonebow and Robert Bakewell.
  2. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong l inks with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996

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