How do we protect ourselves from natural disasters? How do we rebuild communities struck by natural disasters? These are the subjects of the 2013/2014 Nature’s Fury challenge set for 9 to 16 year olds by the FIRST LEGO League.

On January 7th the University of Birmingham’s School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering is hosting the West Midlands regional tournament of this international competition.

Eight teams of up to 10 children will present their research project into mastering a natural disaster, and display their prowess on designing, building and programming a robot, using lego, to clear-up and make people safe in the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami.

Teams will be assessed on their teamworking, research, robot design and the performance of their robot in undertaking missions. The tournament champions will then go on to the National finals, from which a team will be chosen to represent the UK at the World Festival in St Louis, USA.

The tournament will be held at the Munrow Sports Centre at the University of Birmingham with participating teams coming from schools in the West Midlands, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Dr Tim Jackson, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering, who is hosting the event said: 

The FIRST LEGO League inspires children to be creative in applying what they learn in science and engineering to the wider world and to develop co-operation skills. The promotion of science and engineering subjects within schools is important to meeting the need of a knowledge-based economy for a well-educated, technically-trained workforce. We look forward to seeing what the teams come up with and how efficient and adept their robots will be at tackling the challenges they are set.

A summary of some of the pictures, tweets and media converge can be viewed on the storify page.