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DCU building the future of Science and Technology with LEGO

DCU building the future of Science and Technology with LEGO

Robots designed and built by school students using LEGO were in action at Dublin City University on Saturday 26th January at the Learnit & DCU FIRST LEGO League Leinster finals.

Twenty-two teams from Leinster schools competed in the event following four months of preparation including designing, building and programming their own automated robot, using LEGO Mindstorms ®.

Teams also developed a research project based on identifying a human physical or social problem faced during long-duration space exploration within the Sun’s solar system and devised solutions to combat this.

Wicklow Montessori​ Primary School​ were crowned the 2019 Learnit & DCU FIRST LEGO League Champions and will now go forward to represent Ireland in the UK Finals in the University of the West of England, Bristol on Saturday 16th February 2019. FIRST is an acronym for ‘For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology’, and the FIRST LEGO League encourages children to think like scientists and engineers, developing practical solutions to real-world issues.

The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international competition involving students age 11 to 16 from 80 countries. Irish education specialists, Learnit, have introduced the FIRST LEGO League to schools in Leinster and Munster in recent years. DCU LEGO Education Innovation Studio (LEIS) works in partnership with Learnit with the the aim of increasing STEM awareness in young people. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects).

Teams of up to ten students, aged from 11 to 16 years with at least two adult coaches, can participate in the FIRST LEGO Leagues.

Dr Anne Looney, Executive Dean of the Institute of Education said:

“DCU Institute of Education is delighted to host this event and to be associated with the FIRST LEGO Leagues. Working with our unique Lego Education Innovation Studio gives our student teachers a chance to work on practical robotic challenges, and to develop skills they can take with them into their future classrooms and a problem-solving mindset that can inspire the next generation of STEM learners.”

Category winners on the day included:

Core Values: Mercy College, Coolock

Robot Design: Rathdown School

Research Presentation: the Irish Girl Guides

Robotic Game: the High School Rathgar

Professor Deirdre Butler, DCU LEGO Education Innovation Studio said:

“The opportunity to be centrally involved in this initiative contributes to our goal of creating an interactive learning hub that will help DCU student teachers and Irish schools develop innovative and creative approaches to designing learning environments which ignite a passion for learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) concepts and skills from early childhood education right through to third level.By adopting Lego®’s playful learning tools, with a ‘Hands-on Minds-on’ mindset, in a supportive learning environment, all students can develop key competencies such as creative thinking, problem-solving, team-working and communication.”

Ross Maguire of Learnit added:

“The concepts of cooperation and competition are intertwined in FIRST LEGO League, conveying the idea that, by working together, we all win.The FIRST LEGO League is so much more than a robotics competition. It is a platform for students to discover the world of STEM and to collaborate on real-world problems. These young people are taking the first steps to becoming tomorrow’s innovators, creators and problem solvers.” 

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Schools participating in the FIRST LEGO League finals included Belvedere College, St Benildus College, Coláiste Eoin, Wicklow Montessori, Loreto Foxrock, Scoil Eoin Phóil II Naofa, Gaelcholáiste na Mara, Kilcoole Primary School, Rathdown School, the High School Rathgar, St Teresa's P.S. Balbriggan along with five schools from the DCU Access Programme St. Mary’s HFC, Cabra Community College, Grange Community College, Mercy College, Coolock, Beneavin College and community group City Wise in Tallaght. In addition two teams from the Irish Girl Guides also competed as part of a STEM Scholarship programme developed by Learnit and the DCU LEGO Education Innovation Studio.

About DCU Institute of Education - Lego Education Innovation Studio (LEIS)

The Lego Education Innovation Studio (LEIS) at the DCU Institute of Education in St. Patrick’s Campus Drumcondra is an innovative learning hub which has two main aims: to translate contemporary thinking and the recommendations of recent high-level Government reports about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education (STEM) into innovative and impactful classroom practice and to develop 21st Century skills, including a renewed emphasis on “The Arts” (i.e. Design); through new transformative models of teaching and learning which embed digital technologies in authentic, meaningful and problem-solving experiences.The Lego Education Innovation Studio has the mission of helping to prepare a new generation of teachers (and learners) who are curious, capable and confident of engaging with different types of technologies which surround them every day. As the first Irish institution to establish a formal partnership with Lego® Education, the Lego Education Innovation Studio is enabling DCU and the new Institute of Education to create a world-class interactive technology learning hub.

About Learnit

Learnit, The LEGO® Education Specialist, is the only official partner of LEGO® Education in Ireland, with a mission to bring STEM subjects to life and engage children in a fun, hands-on environment.Staging after-school classes, workshops, summer camps, birthday parties and other events countrywide, for the past nine years, Learnit encourages children aged 6–16 to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM subjects) and other practical subjects, in new innovative ways that enhance understanding. LEGO-based camps and workshops teach skills including robotics, mechanics, engineering, construction, science and creativity in a fun way that young people can understand. Working with LEGO can inspire children to explore technology and encourage the world’s future creators in meaningful and challenging STEM careers. In developing partnerships with both industry and third level institutions, such as Dublin City University, Learnit aims to deliver a range of STEM projects for primary, post-primary and third level institutions to increase STEM awareness in society and encourage young people to consider STEM subjects in higher education to meet the increasing demands for graduates in Ireland’s workforce.

Pictured: Wicklow Montessori Primary School Learnit and DCU FIRST LEGO League Champions 2019


26th January, 2019
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