By Cathy Bennett
On Friday 24th May, some randomly selected students got to take part in an exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics day run by the Smallpeice Trust. The Smallpeice Trust is a charity that gets children and young people to learn more about engineering so that they can maybe consider it as a job to do when they are older.
At the start of the day we were shown a presentation about engineering and all its amazing possibilities. This opened our eyes and proved that engineers are not just men in blue jumpsuits working on cars. We also did some icebreaker games to get to know members of our group.
Next we were introduced to the challenge that we would have to complete. Basically, we had to create a wind turbine, a reservoir and a pumping system. We had an assortment of materials but they all had a price, so each group appointed a treasurer to manage the money. During the evaluation stage, the success of the wind turbine would be measured by how much energy it produced when blown round by a fan. The reservoir would be judged by how much water leaked out of it, but the most difficult challenge would be using electrical equipment and straws to create a pumping system to move water between plastic containers.
After break there was a mad rush because we had only two hours to design and create the environmentally friendly products. We were allowed to use materials like straws, split pins, corrugated plastic and thin pieces of wood. Wary of the fact that all the costs would add up, we chose our materials. We worked hard to create our products in time.
The judging was harsh but realistic and Thea Wilson offered us advice on how we could improve our designs. The highlight for me was when we had our wind turbine going around and it created enough energy to power a light bulb. I now think about wind turbines in a new light when I drive past them on the A30.
Although my team did not win we had a great time and did very well. We also learnt a lot about engineering and what the Smallpeice Trust do.