Bede’s Prep Year 7s Take Part in Engineering Day
On Monday 14 January, Bede’s Senior School welcomed Year 7 from Bede’s Prep for an exciting Engineering Day.
Our Year 7 Engineering Day is an important event in our school calendar. This is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is not the distant and scary subject that some think it is.
The day started with the Year 7 pupils getting to know our Sixth Form helpers. Some Year 7s were a little nervous as it was their first visit to the Senior School, but the Sixth Form group was great with the younger ones, who all felt included and interested by the end of the first game.
Our Sixth Formers taught the Year 7s the game ‘Share or shaft’, which explains two competing economic theories for what benefits the group vs what benefits the individual.
Bridge construction began in earnest around 9.30am with designing and planning and building from 10am until 12.30pm. Bridges were to be made within the time limit and only out of spaghetti and glue. The children were given some limited instructions and examples, but their main aim was to construct a bridge to span a 50cm gap capable of holding the most weight.
Some Year 7 students and their Sixth Form support were so keen that they worked right through break – I couldn’t stop them! Everyone said how much fun they were having.
After lunch (expertly made by the School caterers, Holroyd Howe), pupils took part in 20-minute workshops during which they designed a rollercoaster in 3D, competed to build the highest tower (using their experience of shape and construction from the day), and learned about some of the more interesting real-life applications of Pythagoras.
The final bridge destructions were, in the words of Nicholas Abrams, Head of STEM, the most impressive ever. The children were on the edge of their seats with anticipation as the weights were added one by one. A couple of bridges hit the 700-900g mark, and all the others got to or exceeded 1kg – a huge achievement for our Year 7s, especially given their age and limited time and materials.
There was a tie for the winning bridge, with two coming in at a whopping 2.3kg before bridge collapsed. Prizes were chocolates and a model bridge to build at home.
Huge thanks to all our pupils for taking part and everyone involved in making the day such a success. All of the pupils involved had a super time, learned to work well in teams and had an enjoyable educational experience. I personally really enjoyed running the event too!