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Students build and program robots for national contest

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STACKING plastic bricks might not seem like the toughest of tasks, but when you have to build a robot to do the job it can take weeks.
Students at Warrington’s Priestley College started building and programming their robots at the end of last year and finished in time to enter into the First Tech Challenge UK in Liverpool.
The competition pitted Priestley’s two robots against other schools and colleges with one of their creations invited to take part in the London finals.
“This was such a popular enrichment activity we had to enter a second team,” said tutor Linda Seymour.
“Obviously the robotics challenge was to test their ability to build and program a robot, but also to see how they managed to work in team.”
Priestley College entered the competition to give its science, technology, engineering and maths students a chance to shine in a national competition.
Former Bridgewater High School pupil Dan Cliffe said the two teams first had to decide who did what job.
“A couple of us built and programmed the robot. Some of the other people in the team were in charge of documenting the progress we made,” he said.
At the regional heat Priestley students had to partner with another robot to complete the brick-stacking challenge.
Once again it was a test of teamwork as they decided whose machine was best at delivering the bricks and which one was suited to stacking them.
“We built a really reliable robot that only had minor problems during the event,” said Danilo Nerici, who previously studied at Bridgewater High School
The First Tech Challenge UK aims to join a global community of young innovators and industry mentors – building relationships beyond the playing field.
Priestley’s Jakub Bugajski, who studies computer science, German, maths and electronics, said: “It was great to take part in something like this, especially as most of us want to go into working with computers in some way after college.”

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