Inspiring engineers of the future at STEM Challenge Day

Ealier this week, Portsmouth High School hosted visiting primary schools from the local area for a STEM Technology Challenge Day.

The Year 5 and 6 girls were challenged to design, build and test a sustainable transport system which involved them in thinking, planning, constructing and presenting on the day.

Ten teams of girls from Gomer Juniors, Hambledon Primary, Mengham Juniors, Northern Parade Juniors, St Swithun’s Primary and Oakwood School took part.

The girls were told that an eco-friendly train is required for a new bridge link from Gunwharf to Gosport. Their task was to create the travel company branding and design a vehicle carriage that will run on the test track.

Mr Graeme Field, Assistant Head and Head of Design and Technology at Portsmouth High School said:

‘This is a fabulous opportunity for Year 5 and 6 girls from local junior schools to compete together to solve a real life challenge. They were set a really difficult task to design the monorail train but also to think about how their rail company would be promoted.’

‘I’ve really enjoyed the day,’ said Bethan Potts, 10, from Oakwood School. ‘We have tested the monorail and changed the design to make it more streamlined and each time we changed a tiny part of it the train went further.’

‘We’ve learnt to change the wheels and stop them turning and continued to improve our design,’ added Isobel Hughes, 10,  from Hambledon Primary. ‘The drawing and designing have been so much fun.’

Florence Dempster, 9, from Portsmouth High School Junior School, added:

‘We have really had to listen to each other to get the best ideas.’

‘It’s been a great day and we have worked well together,’ added Lily Shearn, 9, from Gomer Junior School. ‘Working as a team gives us more ideas which we can jumble up to make one giant, good idea.’

The teams then had to present their ideas to David Hill, Technology Faculty Outreach Coordinator from the University of Portsmouth who said:

‘We are currently short of over 20,000 engineers a year in this country. So, a day like today is vital to get young people interested in a career in engineering. Only 9% of engineers are women so I am so glad to have come today to have judged the girls’ excellent designs and hopefully we have some budding engineers here for the future.’

The winning team was Gomer Junior School with their presentation on the Gosmouth Techtrain.