For many years Rotary Clubs in the UK have run an annual Technology Tournament designed both to stimulate the interest of students in design and technology and to improve their personal skills and team building to meet the needs of industry.Each year students in teams of four are required to design and build a working model only from materials supplied. Neither the students nor their teachers are aware of the project until the day. Tasks in previous years have ranged from lifting bridges to gas pipe inspection vehicles made using, sometimes, electric motors or elastic bands to operate the design.
The tournament is designed for students in three categories: Foundation students aged 7-9 years, Intermediate students aged 10-11 years and Advanced students aged from 12 years up to 18. Teams are assessed by Rotarian judges and particular attention is paid to team working, portfolio development which includes drawings and explanation of how the model will work, building and testing of the finished model in accordance with strict guidelines laid down by the tournament organisers. The event concludes with the winners in each category being presented with a shield and each team member receiving a certificate. A keynote speech is given by a specialist working in the area relevant to the design project for that year.
It should be noted that this tournament is a STEM approved event. The term STEM, (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is used to address education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development.
This year the tournament is again well attended with a total of 42 teams comprising 22 foundation,12 intermediate and 8 advanced students in competition to be held, as before, at Stopsley Baptist Church, Luton on Thursday 8th March.
Dunstable Rotary Club