EDUCATION: Whirlpool Corporation launches new STEM tournament for Bristol primary schools

Whirlpool Corporation is launching a brand new fully-funded Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge tournament for primary school students in Bristol…

The Challenge will see 10 teams of up to 10 children coming together to work on a series of tasks designed to enhance their STEM skills, and will culminate in a one-day virtual tournament on Wednesday 23 June 2021. 

FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge is a global initiative, with over 67,000 teams participating across 110 countries every year. For its Bristol tournament, Whirlpool Corporation is offering 10 fully funded places to 10 teams from primary schools local to its factory in Yate, including the provision of a LEGO robot. 

The theme of this year’s FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge is RePLAY, which focuses on the importance of play and being more active. Students are challenged to develop a number of key technology and life-based skills through the four competition components: the Robot Game, Robot Design, Core Values and the Innovation Project. 

For the Robot Game, teams are required to put their teamwork and creativity to the test as they design and programme a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® or SPIKE Prime robot to complete a series of missions on a unique LEGO® challenge mat. Teams have 2.5 minutes to complete as many missions as possible. As this year’s tournament will be held virtually, teams will be asked to submit two pre-recorded matches, and will put their robot to work in one live match that will be streamed to the judges on the tournament day. 

The Robot Design aspect of the challenge involves teams presenting their robots to the judges and explaining their design process for building the robot, as well as the code they have written to programme it.

The FIRST® signature set of Core Values lie at the heart of the competition: Inclusion, Discovery, Teamwork, Innovation, Fun and Impact. Teams are required to demonstrate these values throughout all aspects of the competition and will be given a special Core Values challenge during their allocated judging session. 

For the Innovation Project, teams must identify a problem connected to the annual theme, RePLAY, come up with a solution and then present their ideas to the judges at the tournament. This year, for example, teams could provide a solution to the challenge of ensuring more people in the community are keeping fit and active.

Ian Moverley, Public Affairs Director, Whirlpool Corporation, comments: “Whirlpool employs hundreds of local people at our UK factory in Yate and it’s fantastic to have this opportunity to engage further with our community through the funding and launch of our IET FIRST® LEGO® League tournament! FIRST® LEGO® League plays a crucial role in supporting young people to develop the breadth of skills they will use throughout their lifetimes and we hope our tournament will help inspire the next generation of engineers and STEM professionals in Bristol. It’s been a really difficult year for many young people and teachers, but with children now back learning in person, we hope this challenge will give students and teachers some much needed fun and excitement over the coming months!” 

So far, teams from schools including St Paul’s Catholic Primary and Hambrook Primary are registered to take part in the Whirlpool Bristol tournament, however, sponsored places are still available. If you would like the opportunity to take part, please get in touch with Ellie Tudor at

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Author: Minerva Studio