Schools Engineering Team Challenge Day

On Thursday 1 May children and staff from Grove Junior, High Down Junior, Oakfield Academy, Red Maids’, Sidcot, St Martin’s, Crockerne and Wrington schools took part in the Learning Exchange’s Engineering Team Challenge Day.

The children worked in teams of five and got a firsthand experience of being engineers.  They applied their maths and science learning to the real life challenge of designing and building a working wind turbine.  Each team had a limited budget to manage and was up against the clock, with only two hours building time. Their teamwork, problem solving, communication and creative thinking skills were pushed to the limit!

(click any image above to see slideshow)

The teams were supported by engineers from Atkins, EDF Energy, Quotient and Hoare Lea Acoustics, as well as student ambassadors from Weston College.  Not only did the adults provide ideas to help the teams overcome the many challenges they faced, they also helped dispel any misconceptions the children had about engineers being covered in oil or having beards!

While the teams were busy working on the challenge, members of staff took part in a course called ‘Running Successful Science Clubs, Events and Visits’,run by the Science Learning Centre South West.  They experienced a range of science enrichment activities and received practical advice on how to organise science clubs, run a science week and plan visits to raise the profile of science.

At the end of the day everyone got back together to test the wind turbines.  The turbines were hooked up to voltmeters and wind was produced using a desk top fan with the different settings simulating wind speeds at different heights.  All of the teams did excellently, producing some creative designs.  One team’s turbine even produced the second highest voltage ever produced!

It was an engaging day for everyone and feedback was great:

‘Thank you for an extremely well organised and interesting day.  Both children and staff have gained a lot from this experience.’

‘Today has been great – thank you very much.’

‘By completing the engineering challenge the children have developed team work and planning skills.’

‘The children have had an opportunity to work with engineers and find out about the wide range of tasks they engage in.  They know more about engineering as a result.’

‘Today has helped me with my skills of teamwork, Engineering and creativeness.’

It has been an amazing day and I would love to try and make other things.’

‘I have developed engineering skills that will help me in maths, science and technology.’

Many thanks to everyone involved in this event, in particular STEM South West, Priory Community School, Weston College, Graphic Science, the engineers and schools.


Mark Nelson

For more information about this or other Learning Exchange school improvement and professional development opportunities, please contact us using this form or call on 01934 427508.

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