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1710 NAS STEM ambassadors mentor Meon Water Warriors to victory

22 January 2018
Four Royal Navy STEM Ambassadors from 1710 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) have been involved with Meon Junior School for the last three months mentoring them for the First LEGO League competition.

This annual competition challenges children to think like scientists and engineers. This presented an ideal opportunity for Lt Emptage RN (37), Lt Blackburn RN (29), CPO Owen (35) and CPO Prichard (40) to offer their expertise.

With an annual theme, this year’s competition; the Hydro Dynamics Challenge, was focused on learning about water, how it is transported, used and disposed of. 

Lt Emptage said: ‘’When this was proposed as a STEM activity I jumped at the chance to take it on for the Unit; however once I had spoken to the school I realised it was a much bigger activity than I initially thought.

"I sought help from other STEM Ambassadors within 1710 NAS and it didn’t take long to put a team together as the Unit strongly promotes STEM.

"Between the team we have years of experience from Front Line Squadrons so we were sure would be able to provide sound engineering guidance, not to mention we all also all had lots of previous experience playing with LEGO.’’ 

The challenge is based around LEGO Mindstorms technology where the children design, build and program a LEGO autonomous robot to overcome several set challenges.

This allows the team to demonstrate their core values via teamwork and leadership through a project to solve an identified problem, show technical knowledge of their robot and its design, and produce a presentation.

When this was proposed as a STEM activity I jumped at the chance to take it on for the Unit; however once I had spoken to the school I realised it was a much bigger activity than I initially thought. I

Lt Emptage

The school’s lead for the competition, Mrs Jackie Kershaw, contacted 1710 NAS in September to ask for STEM Ambassador assistance to help mentor and guide the children through the challenge and 1710 NAS were more than willing to help.

The team from 1710 NAS provided mentoring and engineering guidance to the school team, known as the Water Warriors, during dedicated weekly sessions to help them produce a robot and prepare for all aspects culminating at the regional competition at Portsmouth University on the 20th December.

Competing against six other strong teams, the Water Warriors stormed the competition and not only achieved the top score in the robot game and subsequently winning the prize for the best robot, they also won the overall event.

This means the Water Warriors have been selected for the National finals in Bristol, February 2018 with a chance to compete in the International competition in the USA later in the year.

Delighted with their success Jackie Kershaw said: ‘’What a fantastic result!  Better than we have ever achieved before and it is all down to the help, expertise and time that 1710 NAS has given to the school over the last three months. The children were thrilled with their victory and couldn't wait to tell everyone back at school.

"The children were only able to win because in addition to sharing their own technical abilities, the team from 1710 NAS were able to coach and inspire them to do their best.  As STEM Ambassadors they are surely role models and I would like to thank them so much for enabling the children to achieve this great success.’’

The 1710 NAS STEM Ambassadors will continue to support the Meon Junior School Water Warriors with their preparation for the National competition where they will hopefully find further success and a trip the USA representing the United Kingdom in due course.

Go Water Warriors!

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