This “Crest” accredited competition tests young people’s problem solving and engineering skills
Northwich Rotary Club Technology Tournament
On Friday 15th March, Northwich Rotary Club organised a Technology Tournament for local High Schools. Two teams of four students from each of Weaverham High School, Hartford C of E High School, The County High School Leftwich and Rudheath Senior Academy took part in the Tournament, which was held at Weaverham High School.
Each team had been told to bring along a set list of tools and that they would be taking part in a Technology Tournament to design and build a mechanism to complete a designated task. However, they were not told in advance what the task would be.
At the start of the day the students were told that a train, carrying hazardous chemicals in a container, had been derailed. They were members of a team required to design and build a crane, which would be used to recover the chemical container from a safe working distance. The container was in a cylindrical open topped truck.
The materials given to the students included pieces of A4 card, screw hooks, lengths of wood and dowel, an electric motor, batteries, wire, pulleys, drawing pins, paperclips, string and several rubber bands. The crane had to be capable of being moved to the container location, picking up the container using a motor-driven hoist mechanism and transporting it to safety.
In addition, the teams had to produce a Portfolio which described how the design was arrived at, diagrams and working sketches and challenges that the team had toovercome.
The teams were judged by Rotary judges, all of whom have an engineering background, considering planning, design, the Portfolio, realisation of the task and, of course, the final test.
All of the teams completed the task of building a crane, with some working better than others. Considering the demanding specification and the materials they had to work with, this was a major achievement and the level of commitment, enthusiasm and understanding of technology was a credit to all of the participants.
Two teams were neck and neck in the competition, giving the judges a difficult task, but a winning team did emerge, comprising Henry Young, Joshua Handley, Alisha Brew-Padley-Fletcher and Rea Gaskill from Weaverham High School.
The winning team was presented with winners’ medals and the school with a plate trophy by the Northwich Rotary Club President Denise Watkinson. In addition, all of the competitors will be presented with certificates of participation in the Tournament.
Rotary organiser Tony Rowe said “This is the sixth year that Northwich Rotary has organised this Tournament and the feedback from the schools is very positive. The day is very challenging for the students as they have to think on their feet, work together as a team and produce a working mechanism against the clock – but most of all, the day is about broadening their design and technology experience in an environment where the emphasis is on enjoying themselves and having fun.”
The Tournament is accredited by the British Science Association to the CREST Discovery Awards. The CREST Awards scheme is Britain’s largest and most widely recognised national award scheme for project work in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). It is co-ordinated by the British Science Association, a charity which advances understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences and engineering.
As a consequence, all of the participating students in the Tournament will receive CREST Discovery Certificates, sponsored by Northwich Rotary Club.