Precipitation Penguins

The theme for this year’s First Lego League was Hydrodynamics, which enabled our girls to learn more about our precious resource ‘water’. We started at the beginning of term 4 to build the many parts for the field mission challenges during Coding & Robotics Club time which is during Thursday lunch times, but soon realised that extra sessions were needed to complete the building!


Leonie Mae from Seqwater visited to help us understand how our region’s water supply is managed and the processes involved, also increasing our knowledge about catchment management and the total water cycle. After the visit our team decided to focus on how to save water in our own junior school environment, the girls immediately started researching.

A script was written by one member of the team to incorporate the solutions the girls had decided on, including prototyping a shower to recycle water, videoing girls recycling water at the end of a school day and interviewing the principal about future possibilities of water tanks. The scenario was set in a classroom as a ‘pop quiz’ enacted by the girls to demonstrate their solutions, which on competition day the judges felt was a very creative way of presenting!

Extra sessions were timetabled for Wednesday afternoons and two weekend sessions. The girls and I were extremely grateful for the support, guidance and assistance given by another teaching colleague and a student from last year’s team.

During a Sunday session, the girls decided on ‘Precipitation Penguins’ as a team name and had fun bonding and demonstrating the core values of First Lego League through; keeping a balloon in the air by all team members staying linked, as a piece of string became smaller each member had to work together to ensure all members stayed within the string circle, and the last challenge for the day was to work together to design and build a balloon powered car!

Having the opportunity to work together helped our girls do well during the Core Values Challenge on the day when they had to rescue a pet from a well.

Building and programming our robot ‘Ptula’ was exciting and challenging! Persistence, trial and error and determination was required as the team decided to complete 5 missions. During practice sessions and with judges on the day Ptula was successful in all 5 missions but unfortunately in each of the three rounds during competition Ptula didn’t perform quite so well!

Throughout the competition our girls demonstrated First Lego League Core Values. By embracing the Core Values, competitors learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of team work. I was extremely pleased when the girls received the ‘Gracious Professionalism’ Award which was presented for the team which competed hard against problems, while treating all people with respect and kindness.


Well done girls on a fabulous day of competition.

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Jackie Child
Jackie Child has been teaching primary aged students for 40 years in a number of countries. She is passionate about how children learn through constructivist pedagogy. She is a Teacher Librarian at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School and a sessional tutor at Griffith University for pre-service teachers. Jackie doesn’t believe in standing still, there is always plenty to ‘do’ and learn!