Posted: Wed 20th Apr 2016

USW Hosts National Engineering Challenge For Schoolchildren

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 20th, 2016

Bargoed schoolchildren became real-life engineers for the day when they took part in a national engineering challenge held at the University of South Wales (USW). ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Pupils from Heolddu Comprehensive School were put through their paces to research, design and build solutions to real engineering problems as part of the Faraday Challenge Day. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the challenge saw three teams race against the clock to solve engineering problems based on the BBC micro:bit – the small, programmable tool designed to introduce Year 7 pupils to the world of coding, and can be used to create anything from games and animations to apps and scrolling stories. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

microbit.width-300 ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The winning team was made up of Luke Evans, Joel De-Arth, Connor Pascoe, Adam Ganderton, James Romais and Joshua Mulligan, all aged 12. The group won an IET trophy and prizes for their school. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They designed and built a safety device for truck drivers, which allows the user to set a timer for their journey according to UK safe driving laws, and sounds an alarm when they need to take a break and rest. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Team leader James said: “We all really enjoyed building the project and working together. It was good fun using the micro:bit and I hope we can use it in designing other projects in school. The Faraday Challenge has been a great day and has made me realise that I’d like to go into engineering when I’m older.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Faraday Challenge events are being held all over the UK and aim to encourage more young people to study and consider exciting and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by using creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Helen Obee Reardon, First Campus STEM co-ordinator at USW, said: “We are delighted to have hosted the Faraday Challenge Day, and the students have thoroughly enjoyed using the micro:bit in lots of different ways. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“These events are key tools in showing young people the wide range of opportunities available through studying STEM subjects, and hopefully inspiring them to go on to rewarding careers.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Holly Margerison, IET Faraday Education Manager, said: “The students who take part in the Faraday Challenge Days learn how to code and programme their own BBC micro:bit in a very hands-on and practical environment, in the hope that this will give them an insight into the life of a real engineer, the variety a career in engineering can offer and the central role it plays in our everyday lives. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“There is huge demand for new engineers and technicians and we’re confident that this will challenge young people’s perceptions of engineers and inspire a new generation with digital technology.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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