Mrs Simms, from the Science Department, tells us about a recent Global Underwater Challenge, sponsored by the Smallpiece Trust, which some of our Year 9 students took part in.

‘Being the current national winners from the last competition, held in 2019, it was an honour to be asked back to compete with a new team of Year 9 pupils. The competition was held at a conference centre in Norwich with 7 other teams from schools in Norfolk and Essex. The day started with lots of excitement and nerves as we were welcomed by the event holders and Trish from Global Underwater as the national winners. The pressure was definitely felt; however, it did not stop our team from getting stuck in. They all chose their roles within the team, from team manager, marketing manager, pitch representative, programmer, engineer and designer.


They were the first team to be able to program their Lego Evo robot to follow the black line successfully in order to navigate around a bed of coral, avoiding hazards in order to pick up plastic from the ocean. Including some very tricky tight corners and some difficult lighting situations. Our wonderful programmer and designer were even able to complete the extension tasks given by the organisers.

 The marketing team decided that the USP was to provide a cost-effective robot in order to help university students study the plastic pollution in the ocean. They set up a non-profit organisation and would fund their robots in a charitable way. They designed a logo, brand and television advertisement for their product. They had several hours to complete everything but the time went very quickly. The brand logo was based upon our school logo, combining the N with showing the ocean before the robot, with pollution, and after the robot without the pollution, which also tied in nicely with the name of their robot.

Then it was time to pitch to the room of judges, teachers and schools. Our team was fantastic, they spoke clearly and passionately about their project. They had clearly practised their pitch and all appeared very confident on the stage. They presented every aspect of the challenge and all of their work was of a very high standard.

Congratulations to Alderman Peel who won the regionals. Although we did not win the competition this year, the standard of the teams was incredible and I am so proud of our Year 9’s. They were amazing, worked so hard and really well as a team, in my opinion they were the best team there!

 So, if you are reading this as a Year 8, this could be you next year. Trying to win back our title!’

Chris, one of the team, gives us his take on the day:

Our challenge was to design, build and market our ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) for the use of cleaning up the oceans. For each role in the team, we had a list of activities to complete to gain points. As the engineer, I was a key part in the building and designing of the robot, along with the coder, designer and team manager.’

‘For our activities we had to navigate a coral reef map with a black line as the path. For this we used an ultrasonic sensor, a colour sensor and a touch sensor. The colour sensor allowed our ROV to follow the path by sending out light and calculating the amount of light reflected back, as darker colours absorb more light. The ultrasonic sensor allowed us to stop before a collision and know the distance from an obstacle. It did this by sending out ultrasonic sound waves and calculating how long it is taken to receive them back after bouncing off another surface. Lastly, we had the touch sensor, this also helped us to stop before a collision but instead of sending out sound waves, it had an extended arm that when pushed against something it would trigger the sensor stop, and go back and around the obstacle.’

 ‘I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity and enjoyed working as a team to problem solve as I’m sure future teams will!’