Each year schools across the globe take part in robotics competitions using Lego Mind Storm.

This year two Hastings Secondary College teams took part in the First Lego League Replay Challenge, where students had to design and build a robot to complete a number of missions and come up with a solution to make people more active all while displaying excellent core values.

‘The Pocket Rockets’ a team of three Year 9 students, the second team consisted of 3 year 8 and 1 year 9 students, ‘Those Nameless Aliens’.

This year’s event, due to Covid, was unlike any other. Instead of teams meeting and competing in the fun and high energy regional heats they all had to compete remotely, which no doubt made it more difficult not only on the day of judging but also in the lead up.

The teams brought some colour and fun tried to the day in their Covid safe virtual competition.

The level of commitment from the teams was outstanding with many lunchtimes’ evenings, weekends and evenings in the holidays spent perfecting their submissions.

The teams had to complete several missions with the robot they had designed, built and coded themselves using Lego Mind Storm EV3.

Both teams performed creditably at this aspect with the Those Nameless Aliens team taking out the Region’s Robot Design Design Excellence Award for their innovative solution.

Both of our teams produced high quality solutions to the problem that they identified for the Innovation Project. Those Nameless Aliens team came up came up with a way of introducing Zumba to schools and workplaces to help improve individual’s health and lifestyle including a teen friendly playground which encouraged a fun circuit work out. They sought feedback on their idea from mentors who designs playgrounds for our local area and discovered some of their ideas were so good that they could be incorporated into future playground designs for council.

The Pocket Rockets identified poor self-image and lack of self-esteem as barriers to regular exercise and came up with a Confidence Gym, where people could work out in a safe environment in total privacy without the capital expense of owning their own equipment.

They sought input on their design from local gymnasiums and costed all aspects of building, fit out, staffing and running the Confidence Gym. Their innovation project was the best in the region and the Pocket Rockets took out the Regions Innovation Project Award and will continue to the next level of the competition.

Both Pocket Rockets and Those Nameless Aliens have made it through to the next level and will be competing in the Eastern National Championships on 5 December.