Change the world


Winners of the First Lego League’s local leg, DF Malherbe High School, have won the national competition and will be heading off to Houston, Texas in the USA in the new year to compete in the international competition. They came out tops in the country, beating 30 schools to take the honours.

First Lego League (FLL) is an international programme aimed at getting learners from the ages of 9-16 interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Lego helps with building self-confidence, knowledge and valuable career and life skills. FLL challenges the youngsters to think like scientists and engineers. Guided by coaches from the Nelson Mandela University’s School of ICT – which has hosted the Eastern Cape Championship since 2013 – FLL teams solve problems using research, engineering concepts, presentation techniques and robots.

South Africa’s economic growth is presently being stifled by a severe skills shortage, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, maths and accounting.

The introduction of the FLL challenge to South Africa, run by Nelson Mandela University’s School of ICT, is one of several interventions to introduce children to the benefits of science and technology and interest them in pursuing careers in these fields.

The judges look at three aspects of the challenge – robot design and the robot game, research project presentation and core values presentation.  Teams are ranked in each component and the judges deliberate to nominate award winners in each category as well as an overall champion. 

This year the Nerds of Steel team from DF Malherbe High School was selected as the regional Eastern Cape champion and was nominated along with a team from Framesby (runners-up) to participate at the National FLL Championship.  

A FIRST LEGO League challenge has three parts:

  • A research assignment called “The Project”. In the project learners must research a defined, real-world problem affecting their community and design an innovative solution for the problem.
  • A “Robot Game” where students design, build and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology. The robot must be developed to autonomously complete a series of missions on a thematic playing field
  • Learners participate in the Robot Game and the Project while demonstrating 8 Core Values. The core values teaches learners important life skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and teamwork.

Nerds of Steel from DF Malherbe High School
(Photo: The Herald)