Eaton Primary School students head to 2021 First LEGO League, National Championships

Meet the 'Lego Lads': Eaton Primary School year six students Adam Grace, Conner Bleys, Ben Mercader, Rhys Clark, Blake White and Beau Jones. Photo: Pip Waller.
Meet the 'Lego Lads': Eaton Primary School year six students Adam Grace, Conner Bleys, Ben Mercader, Rhys Clark, Blake White and Beau Jones. Photo: Pip Waller.

A TEAM of six, innovative students from Eaton Primary School will soon take their coding skills to the 2021 First LEGO League National Championships in Perth this month.

Set for December 11, the coding and robotics competition is run all over the world and challenges both primary and high school students to write codes for their own robots made from Lego.

The objective of the competition is for students aged nine to 16 to play the pre written code via a device, enabling the robot to pick up obstacles and push Lego pieces around to score points in two-and-a-half minutes.

The 'Lego Lads' members Adam Grace, Conner Bleys, Ben Mercader, Rhys Clark, Blake White and Beau Jones, were one of four South West teams who made it to the national championships after competing at the regional competition at Treendale Primary School on November 28.

Team coach Dave Hill, who also picked up the award for Best Coach/Mentor at the competition, said the win was well deserved for the team who had put in over six months of hard work.

"I always go there expecting nothing but hoping for the best. I'm a very nervous watcher of competition," Mr Hill laughed.

The Lego Lads with their coach Dave Hill, who also received an award for Best Coach/Mentor 2021.

The Lego Lads with their coach Dave Hill, who also received an award for Best Coach/Mentor 2021.

"But the advantage this team had this year was that it wasn't their first time competing, so they're pretty familiar with the idea that there's a lot of people and that everyone is watching what you're doing."

The competition introduces Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning to students, allowing them to also engage in research and problem-solving.

Mr Hill said his favourite part of the competition was that it challenged the students.

"Some of these students can cruise through their STEM subjects, so it's a great opportunity for them to learn how to cope with something more difficult."

All six of the 'Lego Lads' agreed that the competition was a great place to work closely with friends and an opportunity to excel at coding and robotics.

Whilst everyone had their own specific roles, Mr Mercader was in charge of the innovation project as part of the competition.

He said the theme was how to improve the delivery or safety of cargo.

"Right now we're just amateur coders, but we're getting there."

Lego Lads member Connor Bleys

"We did some research and found porch piracy, which is basically people stealing out of mail boxes," Mr Mercader said.

"So to try and solve the program, we created a reinforced mailbox called the Lockbox Dropbox.

"It basically operates using a key card scanner that post offices have, so it only lets the post office and the owners open the mailbox but refuses to let other people in, preventing package theft and crime."

The team also agreed how proud they all were of themselves for being able to create a functioning robot and codes for it to follow.

"My favourite part was getting there and having all the nerves but then relieving them when we won," Mr Bleys said.

"Right now we're just amateur coders, but we're getting there."

The Lego Lads can next be seen on December 11 when they compete in the championships at Curtin University.