COMBAT WOMBATS RETURN TRIUMPHANT FROM WORLD LEGO LEAGUE FINALS IN TEXAS
Our triumphant team of budding engineers have returned from Houston, Texas, after a jam-packed 4-day competition at the world finals of the FIRST® LEGO® League, where they pitted their LEGO robotic skills on a global stage against some of the best teams on the planet.
After winning their regional and national heats, the Combat Wombats (a team of 10 boys and girls, aged 9-10) launched an ambitious fundraising campaign to enable the whole team to fly out to compete in Houston, Texas at the FIRST® LEGO® World Festival.
Team Fundraising Challenge
With only a few weeks to spare, the team set themselves a challenge to raise enough money to pay for 10 flights and a contribution to each child’s accommodation for the 4 nights of the competition. The campaign was an amazing success, amplified and supported by local media, including BBC Radio Wilts, Somerset and Bristol, ITV West Country, Radio Bath and The Bath and Wiltshire Parent magazine.
The whole team are hugely grateful to everyone who made donations, bought pizza and attended events that made the dream to travel to Houston a reality. Due to the significant scale and expense of the trip for such a large party, without the generous donations and support from *corporate sponsors, local media, community, friends and family, it simply would not have been possible.
At the FIRST® LEGO® World Festival, Houston
Competing in the world finals was quite an adventure for each and every one of the Combat Wombats. The LEGO science and technology robot challenge, aimed at 9-16 year olds, saw 106 international teams, (all in turn regional/country finalists), compete against each other in a series of timed robot missions. The Combat Wombats gave a sterling performance and despite being the youngest team by far in attendance at the competition, they held their own and made everyone incredibly proud.
Project Presentation to Judges
This year’s competition entitled ‘CARGO CONNECT℠’ was all about exploring how cargo is transported to different destinations around the world. The Combat Wombats designed a solution which made transporting cargo more efficient with an innovative idea of a kerbside tunnel system that could be made from recycled materials. It allowed automated delivery trucks to securely drop off parcels to reduce the environmental impact of the 'last mile'.
Following the practical challenges, the Combat Wombats presented their concept to an expert panel of global LEGO League judges and took questions from the floor in a lively Q&A. Each member of the team learned some vital life lessons along the way, which contributed to the team’s success, and embodied FIRST® ‘s core competition values of teamwork, self-confidence, communication and leadership.
The highlight of the competition itself has to be the award received by Clive Seager for FLL world’s best mentor and coach. Recognised on a global platform for his expertise, dedication and services to the Combat Wombats, not only during the training and lead up to the competitions this year, but to Freshford Church School’s LEGO Robotics club for the past 8 years. Hundreds of children have been introduced to STEM over the years in a fun and accessible way due to Clive’s passion for STEM – put simply, without Clive, there would be no LEGO club at Freshford.
*A very special thank you to our generous sponsors: AB Dynamics, Abel+Imray, Altus, Buro Happold, CaSA Architects, Cross Engineering, Donovan Construction, Dyson, FieldenCleggBradley Studios, Friends of Freshford, Grant Associates, IET, Intel, Rotork, Shell UK.
Solar Panels Installed
As part of Freshford School’s efforts to become more sustainable, in February 2020 we installed 22 solar panels on the rear roof.
After months of planning and negotiations with the local authority we secured planning permission and then faced the mammoth task of raising the £10.5k needed to complete the project. Thanks to the incredible generosity of local families, charities and businesses, amazingly we reached our target within four months.
The project would not have been possible without the generously donated expertise of Nick Spicer of Your Eco and Nick Tomlinson of Tonic Architecture who saw the project through from the early design and planning stages to completion. Also, a huge thanks to Sarah Young, James Sibson, Emma Heatley-Adams and Claudia Towner for their invaluable help and support throughout the process.
Thank you to our sponsors:
Freshford Mill – An exclusive development of country homes
Cobalt Trust (Stephen and Gitte Dawson)
FLECS (Freshford & Limpley Stoke Energy Community Shares)
BEAM Development Ltd
Wild Things Publishing
The Galleries Shop & Cafe and their customers
Gemma Hardy, Aspire Leadership Development
Bath Stone Group
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Ben, Lisa, Henry & Edwin Rodd
The Scotland family (Katie, George, Poppy & Mabel)
The Dougall family
The Ford family
George, Nick, Albert & Eliza Tomlinson
Delilah & Georgina Johns
The Whitbread family (Martin, Jemma, William & Florrie)
The Taylor family
Charlie & Annabelle Ellen
The Heatley-Adams family
The Allen family
Thank you also to the Freshford school community for donations received at the 2019 Winter Fayre.
It is hoped the panels will generate around 6,200 kWh of energy per year, saving the school around £900 per year on energy bills and 22 tonnes of carbon over ten years. The installation will also act as an important learning resource for the pupils:
“As a learning community dedicated to children we have a moral imperative and a duty to do everything that we can to minimise the environmental impact of our infrastructure. In this role it is also our duty to model considerate and respectful behaviours and decision making on the short and the long term.
Solar panels will provide a powerful example and a constant reminder of our doing both, for current and future generations, and will provide data on a daily basis defining the energy generated, costs saved and spending opportunities gained, promoting examination of other savings and efficiencies that might be possible in the day to day operation of the school.
The children will be deepening their knowledge and understanding of energy measurement, data handling and the use and interpretation of tables and graphs – all crucial learning for their future independence and responsible citizenship.”
Andrew Wishart, Headteacher