Reaching out to future engineers
EECS hosted an IET ‘Faraday Challenge’ day to expose secondary school students, and their teachers, to the world of engineering: communication skills, planning, careful budget control over limited (sometimes recycled) resources and above all creativity. Six teams of year 8 science students competed to design and build a vehicle that could transport a rocket 3m, before the rocket was then ‘launched’. In this challenge, simple circuits for the transporter could be built with crocodile clips and pulley motors, but only once the design was approved by the ‘mechanical engineers’, signed off by the ‘accountant’ and agreed, after team consultation by the ‘project manager’. In this economy 2 Faradays of IET ‘currency’ bought an A4 sheet of cardboard or an A4 battery, while 5 Faradays bought a motor. Students learned the consequences of poor planning and false economies: economising by rejecting the 4 Faraday motor-holder and instead gluing a motor onto the transporter was rued by one group when they needed to make modifications.
The winning group of six female students came from Southend High School for Girls. Each member was awarded a £20 Amazon voucher by the IET, with a trophy for the school. The winning team was commended for a good design, careful planning followed by consistent development and an articulate presentation. Teachers commented that the pupils really enjoyed themselves and called it a ‘cracking day’. This continues EECS outreach activities lead by Ho Huen, electronics laboratory manager and co-creator of the Arduinitar.