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In March a team of five Year 10 computer scientists took part in the first Wirral Secondary Schools Harvard CS50x Puzzle Competition, held locally at Mosslands. They joined six other teams to tackle eight fiendishly difficult puzzles set by Facebook.
Of the seven teams, Ridgeway’s team was perhaps the youngest, as they were competing against two other Key Stage 4 teams (Years 10 and 11) and teams from Year 12 and Year 13. Despite this, they led the way early on by allocating members of the team to tackle different puzzles, collating ideas and using key skills in computational thinking, abstraction and decomposition to work out possible solutions ahead of their opponents.
By the end of the day Ridgeway had submitted – and had confirmed as correct – four out of eight puzzle solutions, which is a fantastic feat for so young a team, as the puzzles are aimed at university entry-level degree students.
This year 1300 teams from around the world participated, including 92 teams from the UK. Our students had a fantastic time and were really able to showcase skills learnt during GCSE computer science lessons.
The team would like to challenge readers by asking them to solve one of the ‘easier’ puzzles [see below]. All you are told is that the answer is two words.
Details of the results of the 2018 competition and previous puzzles can be found on Facebook by searching for ‘CS50x’.
Ridgeway students recently took part in the regional heats of the Tomorrow’s Engineers robotics competition at the University of Chester Thornton Science Park campus, along with a number of schools from around the region. Our intrepid team of ten ‘STEM’ ambassadors from Year 7 to Year 9 were accompanied by Mr Cross and Miss Thomas on what was a fantastic day of competition and team challenges. ‘STEM’ refers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
This is Mr Cross’s account of the day.
The theme for this year’s competition was the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918. It involved solving a number of ‘seen’ challenges (for which teams prepared in advance) and an ‘unseen’ team challenge on the day. The ‘seen’ tasks included a robot challenge, collecting Lego parts and moving around an environment using pre-programmed solutions. Teams also faced a speed challenge in which a specially built robot was timed over a four-metre track against other entries.
Each team also had to give a presentation to Airbus representatives on how engineering can help to provide solutions to humanitarian problems, and also brief engineers of Airbus on how their robot solutions had been put together. Ridgeway won the individual team trophy for this on the day.
For the unseen task we had to split in two, with one team assembling a structure of their choice out of Lego and then briefing the other half of the team from behind a screen to produce the same model. The judges were very impressed with our solution, which was correctly completed way ahead of time, and with the responses from the Year 7 students, particularly Mohamad Jouma, who was able to articulate about the simplicity of the design and demonstrate a sound understanding of some basic design and engineering principles.
Although our team was not ultimately successful in getting through to the national final in Birmingham, we were able to come together as a determined and effective team and show just what Ridgeway High School students are capable of achieving. We now look forward to preparing for next year’s competition.
Here is Mr Beattie’s account of the day.
“On arrival we were greeted in reception by the sight of the actual FA Cup and League Cup trophies. We were allowed a close-up look at those famous cups, lifted at Wembley in front of thousands of cheering supporters by many a proud captain.
Once checked in we were led to the learning zone on the top floor. Here the students took part in a workshop on the history of football, learning all about primitive versions of the game from centuries gone by right up to the game we know and love today. This included fascinating insights into traditional games that people still participate in, such as the mob football event known as ‘Shrovetide’ which had actually taken place the day before in Ashbourne in Derbyshire (although thankfully it is a lot more civilised now compared to the original version!).
We learned about the history of the cups, about different clubs and how their names have changed over the years. Then it was time to get our hands on some football artefacts. We were able to have a kick of footballs over a hundred years old, as well as getting a feel of what football boots were like from the past, much different to the boots worn nowadays. Students were also allowed to try on old jerseys donated to the museum by former players.
In the afternoon it was time to take in the museum’s exhibitions. From a whole floor dedicated to Pele to England’s 1966 World Cup winners and more, the students found this thoroughly enjoyable. Finally, we headed back to Ridgeway after a successful visit that is sure to nurture students’ passion for football and sport in general.”
The students who recently visited the National Football Museum in Manchester [above] loved their day out. But what do students think about PE here at Ridgeway? Here are some of the responses from a survey the department carried out recently.