Students engineering skills put to the test

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Teams from the Lancaster area’s secondary schools and colleges had their imagination and engineering skills put to the test during the Rotary BAE Systems Technology Tournament.

The challenge took place at Lancaster Boys & Girls Club at Dallas Road in Lancaster.

Twenty two teams from eight schools had to engage in an exercise that demanded great engineering ability.

The task consisted of building a mechanism that could retrieve an object.

The groups were provided with instructions about the challenge and given just a few materials to approach it.

A team of judges, arranged by the Rotary Club of Lancaster, assessed the teams’ planning, their design analysis and development, their construction skills – and the final testing.

There were three age group categories – foundation, intermediate and advanced.

The winners in each section were:

Advanced Lancaster Girls Grammar School: Natasha Crossley, Joanna Hones

Intermediate Lancaster Girls Grammar School: Alisha Kasam-Sharples, Choloe-Bess Lester, Eloise Lester

Foundation Morecambe Community High School: Jacob Crinion, Liam Bryan, Daniel Clare, Alistair Edwards

The winners received certificates and individual books related to engineering and physics according to their age.

There were also prizes for the runners-up.

Teams of teachers that attended the tournament also took part doing the advanced level task; their efforts aroused great teamwork and interest from their pupils!

The technical challenge has varied from year to year.

One year it was to design a lighthouse with a flashing light, another saw them making a bridge with a mechanism that would allow it to let shipping through.

Last year the challenge was to make a weight-powered vehicle; the year before it was to design a coin sorter.

Every year, the Rotary sponsored tournament gains further momentum and greater support by schools in the area.

Cath Hargreaves, the Education Partnerships and Graduate Manager, BAE Systems-Military Air & Information, Warton, expressed: “As a company we are committed to encouraging young people to take an interest in engineering, science, technology and maths to help them consider a future career in these areas…The Rotary BAE Systems Technology Tournament is an ideal opportunity to do this in an exciting, fun and rewarding way.”

There was a tremendous buzz about the hall when the teams got underway, it was a great fun activity for those that participated.

Lancaster Rotary Club Member Steve Harding, who organized the event and led Rotary members on its set-up and development expressed: “The aim of the event is to provide a challenge to young people all across the Country.

“This is a National event.

“It promotes goodwill between schools in the area and puts Rotary forward in front of youngsters.”

This is the type of competition that pushes individuals and teams to think outside the box, using what they have at hand to solve very complex challenges.

It fits with the Rotary way of thinking as such challenges are often what Rotarians around the world face on a regular basis.

The Rotary BAE Systems Technology Tournament aims to take place next year, where great fun and challenges will meet again.