First Lego League Regional Winner! - student write-up

We started our day at 9:45, pulling up at the University of Kent, Darwin building. Our close-knit team of five, Becky, Lia, Aryana, May and Charlotte were nervously excited for the day to come. As the first team to arrive, we were given the title of Team 1 - Eco Dragons, and had the luxury of choosing any team table as our own. We selected a table which had access to a secluded lounge area, where we set up our robot and laptop for later use.
 
As per our timetable, we were up for our first round of Robot Game at 10:30. the Robot Game involves two technicians (May and Charlotte) gong up to the competition table and setting our team's robot off to complete tasks to earn points. The first round didn't go as well as we had hoped, although this wasn't the end of the world. Afterwards, the judges were kind enough to talk us through some new techniques and programs we could try, that could aid us in further rounds. 
 
Only ten minutes after the end of round 1, our team were getting ready for our presentation. This is another main part of the FIRST Lego League, where a team needs to identify a problem, come up with a solution and then present their ideas in five minutes. Our presentation went well, we believed, as everything had been said and we only ran over by three minutes (compared to last year's six minutes over). The judges seemed impressed with the amount of work we had put into it, as this year we had invested in a large poster board to better display our work. 
 
The next session was ten minutes at the practice table, where we could try out alterations to our robot's programs without the pressure of a competition. We managed to secure a third successful program, which would serve us well in the second Robot Game. 
 
After a short respite, our team carried our trusty robot and laptop over to the Tech Judges table, to discuss why we had built the robot the way we had. This year, our robot had taken inspiration from those we'd seen at Nationals for the last competition, namely: it had a sturdy frame with many additional attachments. Our code was also more advanced, allowing us to complete more complex tasks and use more sensors to better aid our accuracy. 
 
Following the Tech Talk, we had another practice session, where we polished up our programs to ensure they would work like a charm for the third and final round of the Robot Game. But before we could test our skills, we were taken to the Team Challenge, where we had to overcome an unseen problem as a team within a time limit. Our challenge consisted of creating a pyramid from plastic cups, using only an elastic band attached to string. Our small team worked quickly and efficiently to solve this task, and whilst we did run out of time, our teamwork carried through.
 
The third round of the Robot game went so much better than the other two, with an estimated 165 points scored by the end of it. We had some complications with our gyro-sensor at the start, but that was quickly swapped out with a spare, not hindering our progress at all. 
 
Finally, we were free and able to eat lunch and watch other teams compete until the Awards Ceremony at 14:00. Most of our team became invested in the production of a bakery made of blue-tack, which served no other purpose than for amusement. When the announcements came for the different awards, our team was certain that a larger group of 13 would win this years Regional Finals, however it was not so. The Langton Girls School was pronounced the overall champion of the FIRST Lego League Regionals, amid many shocked expressions and cheers. 
 

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