THE sky is limitless for a group of Reidy Park Primary School students who have developed a solution to reduce the impacts of long-duration space travel on the human body.
That is what Muscle Masstronauts will claim as they shoot for the stars at the 2018 FIRST LEGO League National Championship in Sydney over the weekend.
Year 6 students Will, Leila, Bree and Jayden form one of five South Australian teams which will converge on Macquarie University tomorrow for the two-day event, the pinnacle of what has been a whirlwind few weeks for the team since competing at the Mount Gambier regional final on November 19.
While the team showed off its coding ability in the competition’s robotics challenge to finish 19th, its presentation – based on this year’s theme Into Orbit – was awarded the state’s best researched project, rocketing the team into third overall to secure a national qualifying spot.
Their journey to the top started at classroom level where, alongside their peers, the students brainstormed a problem faced by humans during long duration space travel – either physical or social – and developed a solution to the issue.
The result for Muscle Masstronauts was an exosuit which uses resistance bands to combat the effects of muscle mass reduction, bone density loss and spine elongation.
It was a concept bold enough to earn them the inspiration and presentation awards at regional level and edge out last year’s global innovative solution award winners RoboRoos at state level – a major confidence boost for the young quartet ahead of tomorrow.
Admitting there was both excitement and nerves ahead of the national competition, Leila said the team was just proud to reach the national stage after initially competing against South East schools at both regional and state level.
“I think we have improved quite a lot, but I do not think we expected to get this far,” she said.
“We have had to make changes along the way because we have had people come in and out of the team,” Jayden added, praising Levi and Ky for their input to the team.
Coding a Lego-based autonomous robot to complete a series of challenges has also taken plenty of practice for the team, but Bree said it had been a worthwhile experience.
“There has been a lot of hands-on learning, which I think we have all enjoyed, it’s something different,” she said.
While the Lego league concept was part of the Year 6 students’ learning in term three, the Muscle Masstronauts has fine-tuned the project this term as their success continued, spending extra time at school on Monday afternoons and meeting after school to ensure they are prepared.
And while the team appears to be well prepared for whatever the national competition throws their way, there remains one problem they are yet to solve – how to correctly pronounce Lego.
“I say ‘Leg-oh’ league but then I say ‘Lay-go,” Jayden said.
“I used to listen to people say ‘Leg-oh’ and thought they were wrong, but now with Lego league I have changed from ‘Lay-go’,” Bree added.