School students have risen to the challenge to show whether they have the skills to engineer tomorrow’s world.
Around 120 youngsters, aged 12 to 14, took part in an Engineering Extravaganza, organised by four professional engineering institutions as part of British Science Week and staged at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s Knowledge Transfer Centre.
The interactive event was designed to inspire young teenagers and their teachers about STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – subjects and demonstrate the varied careers that can be followed in engineering.
The professional institutions, working together as Tomorrows Engineers, set a series of challenges designed to give the youngsters hands on experience of different fields of engineering by using problem solving skills.
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) ran the Skyscraper Challenge, which asked teams to build the tallest tower using as few Lego bricks as possible, while taking into account the forces that act in large towers and how they affect their stability, and how to recover their initial investment in building the tower by considering the functional use of the completed building.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) challenged teams to build an air-powered model of the Bloodhound car, which is trying to raise the World Land Speed Record to more than 1,000 miles an hour, and compete against each other to see whose car would go the furthest and fastest.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) got the youngsters to engineer their own small scale versions of “vacuum tube trains” – a new technology which could be a reduced cost alternative to air travel by transporting people at speeds of around 1,000 miles an hour.
Meanwhile, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) got the youngsters to explore how materials play a central role in our lives and have helped to change and improve the technology we rely on.
Rolls-Royce manufacturing engineering programme manager Ian Crowston, who led the team organising the event, said: “We wanted to give young people a chance to spend time with engineers, technologists and scientists and show them how exciting a career in engineering could be.
“Engineering is at the heart of everything that can make the world a better place. The solution to most, if not all, of our problems can be found in engineering and we need these young people to become the engineers and innovators of the future if we are to survive and thrive.
“Hopefully both the students and their teachers found the event educational and rewarding and got an introduction to the careers options available to STEM subject students.”