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The Downs School Robots Race to Victory in the Cognito CHIPS Challenge Final

On Saturday 30th November, students from The Downs, St Gabriel’s, Kennet and St Bartholomew’s Schools competed in the 2nd annual CHIPS Challenge. The successful event was hosted at the Newbury Hilton Centre by local mobile workforce management experts Cognito, in conjunction with the Education Business Partnership.


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Using Lego Mindstorm robots, the two teams from each school were set three challenges which involved programming their robot to follow a line, avoid a wall and navigate a maze. Points were awarded in order of the time it took to complete each challenge.

By the end of the competition, the scores were close, but both teams from The Downs were consistent throughout, narrowly beating St. Bartholomew’s and securing both 1st and 2nd place.

Kingsley Harding from The Downs School commented, “It was a well-deserved victory. Both teams put a great deal of hard work and effort into this thoughtfully designed competition. Not only have the students had a lot of fun learning with Cognito, but they have picked up a new skill that can only broaden their horizons when it comes to choosing A-levels and future careers.”

Over a number of weeks prior to the challenge, Cognito employees worked with teams of 13 and 14 year olds from each school to teach them the fundamentals of software programming.

Steve Alderson, Managing Director at Cognito said, “It’s inspirational to see what these students have accomplished today. The challenges we set were no mean feat, and these young people have demonstrated a real understanding of basic coding in order to achieve the desired functionality from their robots. Judging by the energy and enthusiasm here today, it’s clearly been a rewarding programme for both the students and our staff who have mentored the teams. CHIPS has proved that programming can be fun and hopefully we’ve helped to inspire some of the students to consider a career in software development.”

“The CHIPS Challenge was designed to promote software development skills and careers amongst young people. Working with a forward thinking company like Cognito, we have given young people a hands-on opportunity to see what computer programming involves and what it’s really like. It is great to see a British company promoting the skills required both now and in the future” said Lesley Stewart, Project Officer at EBP West Berkshire.

If you’re interested in taking part next year, we’d love to hear from you – please contact marketing@cognitoiQ.com for more information.

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