On 6th February, two teams from Fellside took part in the Vex iQ Next Level Challenge – 2019. This was a regional competition held at Nissan for 7-11 year-olds to show their skills with building, programming and operating a robot.

The two teams have been working with Mr Nelson for many months now and this competition was the final test of their skills ahead of the National rounds. They have come so far after their first few practice rounds and were determined to give their best.

The competition is quite complex. It entails completing 10 matches alongside a team from another school or club to gain points by moving ‘hubs’ (the orange and yellow plastic parts) on a field, with several obstacles in the way. When the teams play together in this way, they each score the same number of points, so discussions, practice and teamwork is essential. They can also score points by creating a programmed sequence on the board, and by working as two drivers to move the hubs. It is truly amazing to witness the skills these children have with their robots!

After all 85 matches had taken place (10 for each team, and there were 21 teams), the children were ranked by their average score. Brilliantly, Fellside teams had come in 2nd and 3rd place! Wow!

This then meant that teams 1-21 were paired up for a final ‘all or nothing’ match, where they needed to work with their matched team to score as highly as possible, and this would determine their final rank. The first and second, third and forth, and so on, were paired, meaning one Fellside team paired with Duchess High School and the other with Wardley Primary. Both teams set to work discussing and practising with their new allies, but soon it was their final matches. Fellside A had 10 points to beat – and scored 12! Then, Fellside B stepped up and scored 12 too! A wonderful effort – all 4 teams (Fellside A, B, Wardley and Duchess) were first!

Unfortunately, only 2 tams could go forward, so a rematch was called for both pairs of teams. With broken robots in the first 10 seconds for both Fellside teams in their respective matches, we witnessed high-tension matches, but in the end, Fellside B and Duchess High scored highest in the rematch and now have a place in the National competition next month.

Miss Watson was so impressed by every single team member’s hard work, manners and sportsmanship throughout the day. It was wonderful to spend the day with the children and see how far they have come. Such a credit to Fellside!

A huge thank you to Nissan and Mr Nelson who gave us this opportunity!

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