Stem skills send students into orbit

More than 300 students from around the State will go Into Orbit at the 2018 FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Challenge, using robotics to solve physical and social problems faced by humans during space exploration.

After months of designing and programming LEGO Mindstorms robots, almost 40 teams – some travelling from as far as Mount Magnet, will descend on St Stephen’s School Carramar to participate in robotic missions according to this year’s out-of-this-world theme.

This year’s Into Orbit Challenge has seen teams identify either a physical problem, such as the need for air and water, or a social problem like isolation that affects humans during long-term space exploration. They have then worked on solutions and using robotics and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills to demonstrate how to overcome the issues.

Teams are judged on the Challenge rounds, the design of their robots and their Core Values, which must align with the FIRST Corporation’s values of Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork and Fun.

This is the second year the event has been held at St Stephen’s Carramar, the School again represented by four teams (from both Carramar and Duncraig Primary and Secondary areas) who have been studiously training for months.

“STEM skills play an important part in both education and career pathways for our students," St Stephen’s School Principal Mrs Donella Beare said.

“Events like the FIRST Lego League encourage them to consider real world problems and how to solve them using skills learned and developed during their schooling.” 

Mrs Beare said, after last year’s huge success, the St Stephen’s School community is excited for the upcoming event on Saturday, November 17.

“The excitement, atmosphere and team spirit of last year’s event is sure to continue at this year’s celebration, with more people and teams showing interest in the competition and opportunities it provides the students to grow.”

The day itself will feature a carnival-like atmosphere with an opening ceremony, music and passionate teams decked out in costumes and colour. It kicks off from 8.30am with a jam-packed schedule until 5pm. It is open to the public and admission is free.

Each team will be vying for a spot in the Australian National Tournament in where a win could see them compete on an international scale.

The annual WA FLL is presented by Curtin University. For more information, visit

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