Ridgeway students 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 Mrs 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 the next competition.