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While the famous plastic bricks will  feature prominently on many Christmas lists making their way to the North Pole right now, they’ve become even more important to the Gravity Troopers.

The team is one of six Scottish groups to make it to the UK finals of the FIRST Lego League tournament.

Made up of Donald Wright, Katie Elder, Adam Slotwinski, Struan Fraser, Hector MacLennan, Harris Wester and Ethan Parker, it was one of three entered by My World of Work Live!

My World of Work Live! is a programme run by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) designed to inspire young people to consider careers in key sectors of importance to the Scottish economy, now and in the future.

An approved Lego Education programme, My World of Work Live! runs after-school STEM clubs twice a week at SDS’s Church Street centre in Inverness. Since August, the young people – who are in Primary 6 and 7 – have been working on their entries for the tournament.

Lego League finalists

Gravity Troopers Donald Wright, Katie Elder, Adam Slotwinski, Struan Fraser, Hector MacLennan, Harris Wester and Ethan Parker are one of three teams entered by My World of Work Live!

FIRST Lego League sees groups worldwide test their mechanical, building and computer skills by designing, building and programming their own robots using Lego Mindstorms technology.

The competition aims to help young people broaden their understanding of STEM careers and see how they can apply the skills they gain in school in the real world.

The event, organised by the Energy Skills Partnership and the Institution of Engineering Technology, was held at Inverness College UHI.

Teams from primary schools, secondary schools and after-school clubs across the north of Scotland gathered in Inverness for the North of Scotland heat on Saturday 1 December. This was the first time that FIRST Lego League had held a regional final in the north of Scotland.

The Gravity Troopers were up against seven other teams from across the Highlands and north of Scotland.

On the day, the robots took part in a series of space-themed missions, where they had to negotiate difficult routes, as well as lifting, pushing and manoeuvring Lego objects. The teams also had to deliver a presentation explaining how they would use technology to overcome a problem faced by space explorers.

The Gravity Troopers were the overall winners for the north of Scotland and took home the prize for best robot game. A second team from the after-school club, the G-Rexes, won best presentation.

Following their win, the Gravity Troopers are now through to the UK-wide finals which will be held in Bristol on 17 February and have been given sponsorship by SGL Carbon Fibers.

Alessio Gusmeroli, STEM Engagement Adviser at Skills Development Scotland, said: “All three teams did brilliantly well at the Inverness event – it was great to see all of their hard work come to life on the day.

“My World of Work Live! really opens young people’s eyes to what is possible with STEM, and participating in competitions like FIRST Lego League takes that a step further. The young people have developed their team working skills, confidence and technical skills, which is fantastic to see. I am very proud of all of our team members, and I cannot wait to see how the Gravity Troopers get on in the competition.”

Further career information and advice is available online via SDS’s award-winning career web service myworldofwork.co.uk

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