Robotics project inspiring forBerwick Guides

Girl Guides from Berwick now have a robotics badge after taking part in a project to inspire more girls to consider science-based careers.

Friday, 29th March 2019, 11:12 am
4th Berwick Guides took part in the Tomorrows Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge.

North East Girlguiding teamed up with the Reece Foundation and Engineering UK on a project that saw 200 children take part in a heat of the Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge.

Following months of preparation, 4th Berwick Guides and their robots built from LEGO Mindstorms went head-to-head in Newcastle.

Diane Wright, assistant leader of 4th Berwick Guides, said: “We started from scratch, with absolutely no knowledge of robotics.

“It has been a fantastic experience for all involved and really broadened their horizons, helping them to find out more about what careers in engineering are about. They have also had to use life skills such as patience, perseverance and problem solving.

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“The whole unit has been involved in some way and we held a robot racing night which the guides really enjoyed. We are all very proud of the hard work and commitment they have shown and it has been wonderful to see them grow in confidence.

“A number of the girls now say they are interested in careers in engineering.”

Team member, Hollie, 12, said: “I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with the robot and seeing what worked and what didn’t. At first, it was hard, but it then got easier and was a lot of fun.”

The team completed several challenges over a very busy day. In the Speed Challenge, Berwick’s robot, DJ Jazzy G was third. They also showed off their programmed robot doing turns, spins to lights and music as well as climbing a slope.

Jasmine, Nina and Thea did a presentation on how engineers could support humanitarian aid in the future and how robots could help after tsunamis and landslides and be used in hospitals.

The final challenge saw them split into two groups where they had to build half a bridge each from LEGO, without seeing what the other group were doing.

EngineeringUK’s Director of Tomorrow’s Engineers, Melanie Washington, said: “Engineering shapes the world we live in and the way we live our lives and we want all young people to see that they could play a part in that in the future. Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge aims to help young people from all backgrounds understand the variety, excitement and opportunity presented by an engineering career.

“There is an obvious synergy between our mission to inspire tomorrow’s engineers and the Girlguiding mission to give girls and young women, whatever their background, the chance to do amazing things. We hope their experience of all aspects of the Robotics Challenge, from design and programming, competing and working as a team inspire them to consider engineering in the future.”

Victoria Fawcett of Girlguiding North East, said: “EngineeringUK approached Girlguiding North East as they want to get more girls involved with STEM activities and they had this opportunity thanks to the generosity of the Reece Foundation.

“The guide leaders, who are all volunteers, built this challenge into their weekly programmes to enable the girls to learn a new skill and take part in this competition.

“All involved have shown great determination and commitment to this challenge and we have received lots of positive feedback from the units, with comments including that some of the girls are now saying they would like to be engineers.”

Reece Foundation was established in 2007 by the late Dr Alan Reece, founder of the Reece Group. Its main objective is to increase the long term and sustainable prosperity of the North East of England primarily through the promotion of engineering and manufacturing.

Reece Foundation chair, Anne Reece, added: “Both Reece Foundation and Reece Group are passionate about inspiring the next generation of engineers.

“By giving girls the opportunity to get involved with STEM activities at an early age and work with female engineers we hope to ignite that spark of enthusiasm that will encourage them to find out more about careers in engineering and related careers.”