Calling all Master Builders... The First Lego League global science and technology competition is returning to the University of Birmingham.

Lego has been undergoing a renaissance with the Lego Movie being the fourth top grossing worldwide film of 2014 . Now being used to build robots, the plastic brick has found a new lease of life as an educational tool for the 21st century.

Teams of schoolchildren aged between nine and 16 will be given a set of challenges surrounding a real world issue. They then have to design, programme and build an autonomous robot using Lego that can complete several missions.

On January 2015, 17 teams will present their research project and take part in a series of challenges designed to show off their robots capabilities at the University of Birmingham’s School of Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering. The teams will be assessed on their research, robot design, teamwork and the performance of the robot in the missions and challenges.

A painting of Emmet, a character from The Lego Movie, has appeared at Moor Street station in Birmingham
A painting of Emmet, a character from The Lego Movie, has appeared at Moor Street station in Birmingham
 

Dr Tim Jackson, senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s School of Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering said: “The First Lego League provides an exciting opportunity for children to set their imagination free while applying what they learn in science and engineering to the wider world.

“The promotion of science and engineering subjects within schools is important to providing a well-educated, technically-trained workforce suitable for a knowledge-based economy.

“We look forward to seeing what the teams come up with and how efficient and adept their robots will be at tackling the challenges they are set.”

The West Midlands heat of the tournament will be held at the Munrow Sports Centre at the University of Birmingham with teams coming from schools in Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

The winners of each regional tournament will go on to the UK national finals, at which a winning team will be selected to represent the UK at the world final in St Louis, USA.