We have been supporting the FIRST LEGO League programme in the UK for 2 years now through volunteering and sponsorship, in schools, expeditions and competitions taking place in multiple regions, acting both as mentors and judges. It’s a great global programme delivered locally, and has been a great opportunity for employees to get involved.
Brendan Rice, Business Transformation Consultant, volunteered at the East London competition and shares his experience below.
Days prior to the FIRST LEGO League, we went for training at Queen Mary University and met with the coordinator, Ho Huen. This was a new experience for me volunteering with FIRST LEGO League, as a Core Values judge. After explaining the role of the Core Values Judge, we set about creating our name tags (with affixed Lego Rocket Ships), as the theme of the season was ‘INTO ORBIT’.
The FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists, engineers and technologists. The 2018/2019 season transported the teams INTO ORBIT. During this INTO ORBIT season, each team were challenged to solve a real-world problem requiring them to build, test and programme an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology, solving a set of tasks in the robot game. Throughout their experience, teams operated under a set of ‘Core Values’, celebrating discovery, teamwork, innovation and inclusion.
A team from Capgemini judged the Core Values aspect of the FIRST LEGO League held at Queen Mary University, London and their STEM skills were demonstrated and showcased by their magnificent robot creations. When evaluating the Core Values, we had to be more creative. We then played a game about communication skills and leadership, (to our surprise some teams solved it!). When we were not in the judging rooms, we did some floor walking to immerse ourselves in the robot competition, talk to the teams and watch them deftly build, calibrate and rebuild their robots.
At the Core Values session, they demonstrated their presentation skills and played back their lessons learned, exhibiting inclusion and cooperation (learning is more important than winning). We then presented the ‘Best Newcomer’ and the ‘Core Values’ awards. The trophies were made from LEGO and not glued together!
Students receiving a trophy. Brendan Rice (far left)
“As a host there is nothing more satisfying than to see the amazed faces of the students when something goes well (and wrong!) as it adds so much to their learning experience. Needless to say, it’s not easy to get the right help to support these events and the team from Capgemini was fantastic. The fact that the individuals from the same company came together and organised themselves to manage the judging of “Core Values” is a testament to their professionalism and expertise in the area. I can’t wait to work with them next year!” – Ho Huen, East London Co-ordinator
I would strongly recommend to everyone to get involved with this cause. At Capgemini, our commitment to high ethical standards and our core values underpin our business practices. Working in a voluntary capacity in STEM education that puts more of an emphasis on Core Values than the solution was rewarding. They talked a lot about resilience and how working together they faced obstacles and often failed in their robot design. Having played with LEGO when I was a child, this quote from Thomas Edison came to mind: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
The FIRST LEGO League gave the children the opportunity to be mentored, coached, and be part of a team. Collectively, we had such a fun-filled day and left feeling inspired.