Two Ballina girls were on an Irish Girl Guides team that scooped first place in the research category of the first Lego League Leinster finals, which took place recently in Dublin City University (DCU ).
Chloe Gaughan (12 ) and Ella Douglas (14 ) of Ballina Guides had spent several months working on their project, which explored how astronauts could grow vegetables in space. Their other team-mates, all members of the Irish Girl Guides, came from all around the country, which made working together challenging.
They met five times for full day workshops in DCU’s Lego Innovation Studio and chose the name ‘Sparrots’ as their team name (sparrots = carrots and space ).
As well as developing a research project based on identifying a human physical or social problem faced during long-duration space exploration and proposing a solution, the girls also had to design, build and programme a robot to undertake various challenges on a themed playing field during the finals. They named their robot Pablo!
The first Lego League is an international competition involving children and young people from age 11 to 16 from 80 countries. The teams operate under a signature core set of values, which include teamwork, sharing of experience, discovery, the spirit of friendly competition and co-operation.
Team Sparrots were thrilled to win the research category of the competition. "I never thought we were going to win!” said Chloe. “We were just doing it for fun. We won not just in the competition but in friendships too. It was the best experience."
IGG Chief Commissioner Helen Concannon said: "The girls have developed their STEM skills through this project and learned how to harness each person’s individual skills so as to create amazing group projects. Working together, they have valued each person’s contribution and impressed us with their ingenuity. They are excellent role models for our younger members and prove the relevance of STEM to all - both boys and girls."
Irish Girl Guides welcomes new members from age 5-30 and new volunteer leaders from age 18+. No previous guiding experience is necessary. To find out more, see www.irishgirlguides.ie or call (01 ) 6683898.