Bridging the gap between industry and education is something we are extremely passionate about. We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities where we can give young innovators and engineers the chance to experience real life design and technology. So, when Shanta Hurford of the St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Primary School’s Lego Club phoned to see if we could possibly help the children prepare for the last round of their Lego League finals, we certainly jumped at the chance.
Here at Cubik we had never heard of the Lego Club, our engineers more familiar with Meccano in any case, but what a fantastic idea! Each year, children between the ages of 9 and 11 are given the opportunity to sign up for the club where design and technology is the only learning objective. Lego Club is not only an outlet for their interests in engineering but begins to teach them the skills which are invaluable to the world of work and further education, such as teamwork, leadership, communication and presentation.
The Lego League is an international competition consisting of three key parts, a Lego robotics challenge including programming, a unique innovation project using a specific brief set out by Lego themselves and reported evidence of the club working together as a team.
Flying the flag for North-East Bristol, St Augustine’s Clever Lego-ers triumphed at the semi-finals held at Bristol HP labs, their innovative Tap Listen Blend Pen taking centre stage. The design answered the brief of producing a world class learning aid perfectly but pushed it a step further by aiming it directly at helping the large percentage of the UK who suffer with dyslexia. The pen works by phonetically sounding words as they are scanned over, but unlike the product’s hypothetical competitors is designed to work on all manner of publication and writing. The main event of February’s final will include a Dragon’s Den style presentation given to leading experts in the field of technology and business, on how the product could be brought to market in real life terms, including a session of quick fire questions on the nitty gritty of cost and manufacturing.
And this is when Cubik Innovation came in! Taking a concept from a few thoughts, to a specification, to a design, through to a prototype, and eventually on to the market is our speciality, we couldn’t wait to prepare for the kids for such an event!
The day began with the Lego Club’s excellent presentation, including props and some very convincing acting! Here the Cubik team consisting of Director Paul Mullen, Project Manager Sophie Adams-Foster and Office Coordinator Lianne Barnard, had the chance to ask the important questions – how much would the product cost? How would the product be made? What would it be made out of? The team were extremely impressed with the sheer level of research and planning that went into designing such a unique and worthy product.
Following the ‘grilling’ session was an informative presentation on how Cubik would take this product to market, covering our five phase prototyping service which, in a real life scenario would be perfect for the Lego Club’s invention. The day ended with a tour of our labs and a good look into some of the projects Cubik are currently working on.
Jess Scott, the teacher that heads up the Lego Club added that ‘The group will certainly be better equipped to deal with the grilling they will get in Loughborough. In fact, I think the judges will get a shock that they are so well informed!’
Following the visit, the children were enthusiastic to share their thoughts, kindly sending thank you letters, Grace, one of the club’s project coordinators writing “You gave all our teams advice and what you said will certainly put into action”, her colleague Lottie adding “I loved the experience and will remember it for the rest of my life”- which of course all at Cubik were extremely happy to read. Cubik were also pleased the children appreciated the Science Park’s unique surroundings- Barnaby adding ‘I thought it was an amazing building, so good I built it on Minecraft’.
All of the Cubik Staff were delighted to help and left the experience with a sense that the future of our industry is in safe hands with such bright innovators in our schools, we wish the Lego Club all the success and luck for the looming final and in all their future endeavours.