Year 9 students at Stroud High School have recently had a chance at practicing their engineering skills. They worked with engineers from NATS, a global engineering company that specialises in air traffic control, to solve an engineering challenge that was presented to them by Simon Kettle from STEMWORKS.
The students had a chance to listen to, and question, the engineers, Steve Snook and Petar Lambrev, who talked about what they do as engineers and what career pathway they took. The students appreciated the insight as both followed different career pathways with Steven doing an apprenticeship after A-levels that will lead to an engineering degree all paid for by NATS. Whereas Petar completed a BSC in Aviation technology with pilot studies followed by an MSc in Aerospace engineering.
The students were challenged to build a robot and a signal tower to complete certain mission parameters. The students had to design and build a tower out of wood and metal using nuts and bolts with lots of drilling. They also had to design electrical circuits, and program the robot to complete specified tasks.
The students then presented their solutions and tested them in front of the engineers and their peers. The engineers assessed their design and test in a number of categories. Simon Kettle of STEMWORKS, who organized and led the activity, asked the students questions about the choices they made. One particular group built a program within their robot so that it would turn the light on and off in a Morse code sequence. Petar and Steve said “The students did really well. When it came to the scoring of the designs and tests it was really close for instance the difference between 1st and 2nd was 1%. We were very impressed with their team working skills and the originality of their designs. My favourite part of it was that they just got on with it“.
Simon Kettle said “This day is all about inspiring students to consider engineering as a career. These students are the next generation of engineers that will have to solve considerable problems ranging from environmental design solutions to developing a new form of packaging away from plastics. This day will hopefully inspire the pupils to consider engineering as a career”
SHS student, Jay Manson-Whitton said “I really enjoyed the activity and time just flew by because I was so involved in designing and building the tower”. Another student Xanthe Curtis in a different team said “We spent the whole day building our tower and programing our robot, so the first time we tried it when it actually worked we cheered as we were so happy!”
The winning group gain free entrance and a free ticket each to attend the final engineering competition taken place at the Royal Air Tattoo in July. We wish them luck as they compete against other schools in the South West.