MerseySTEM Robotics Challenge Champions: Hillside High School!

Posted 11th December 2015
6 minutes read
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The MerseySTEM Robotics Challenge Grand Final will go down in history as one of MerseySTEM’s greatest events – educational, exciting and most importantly fun! After eight gruelling heats, pulverized processors, mangled motors and a nerve-wracking final battle, Hillside High School were crowned 2015 Champions!

MerseySTEM have facilitated a series of eight Robotic Challenges in conjunction with Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), The Hub: Apprenticeships Work and Vex Robotics.

On the 10th of December at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, eight qualifying Merseyside schools went head-to-head to discover who could build the best battling bot. The winning school from each heat received a ‘VEX Competition Lab Kit’ worth over £750, as well as support from VEX Robotics with the opportunity to enter a further competition that culminates in a Grand Final at Big Bang North West 2016.

Heats took place in Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, Sefton, Halton and St Helens and were sponsored individually by Urenco Group, AstraZeneca, Cogent, NGF Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, Getrag Ford, Liverpool City Region Apprenticeships Hub and Sigmatex.

Each challenge saw teams of students from local schools take part in a full-day event, building their robots in the morning and pitting them against each other in the afternoon in a series of matches. The winning teams progressed to the Liverpool City Region Grand Final where they competed against schools from across the region. All students were supported by MerseySTEM, local professionals and STEM Ambassadors throughout and each event was covered LIVE on social media.

This year’s finalists were: All Saints High School, Ormiston Chadwick Academy, St Margaret’s Academy, Rainford High School, Hillside High School, Broughton Hall High School, Mosslands School and St Mary’s Catholic College.

After a series of close rounds (some of which came down to goal difference), Ormiston Chadwick Academy and Hillside High School earned their place in the grand final. They were both strong competitors with accomplished machines, it could have been either one of them.

MerseySTEM Managing Director Michelle Dow said, “I love our Robot Challenges, they give us the opportunity to change perceptions, challenge stereotypes, promote teamwork and provide careers advice to students using real role-models from our city. Robot Wars are nothing new, but whatever you say – robots are cool! The final has just been amazing, we were literally on the edge of our seats! A huge thank you to our partners and sponsors for helping us make this happen along with Team MerseySTEM and our schools – the students are always so excited and it’s fantastic to see them so passionate about engineering. Congratulations to Hillside High School, we can’t wait to see you again with your robots at Big Bang North West (remember remember the 5th July!)”.

The MerseySTEM Robotics Challenges enable students to understand a variety of design, science and engineering principles and develop leadership and problem solving skills. The events aim to inspire and excite students’ interest in robotics & to demonstrate the practical application of mathematics and engineering… they also have a lot of fun!

Simon Reid, Sector Manager for Advanced Manufacturing, Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “As the City Region’s economy continues to improve, more companies are facing a shortage of skilled workers, especially in Advanced Manufacturing.”

“Now more than ever our future depends on a workforce with the necessary talents and training for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and the best way to ensure a steady supply of workers is through education. That is why initiatives such as the Robotics Challenge are so important; they provide an opportunity for our young people to really engage with the possibility of working in this sector and hopefully encourage them that Advanced Manufacturing is an exciting and rewarding career.”

Image © MerseySTEM
Courtesy of Gareth Jones