Portsmouth High School hosted visiting primary schools from the local area this week for a Technology Challenge Day.
The Year 5 and 6 girls (aged between 9 and 11) 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 Cottage Grove, Fernhurst, Gatcombe Park, Gomer, Hambledon, Oakwood, St Swithun’s, Portsmouth High School, St Jude’s and Wimborne 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.’
‘It has been a good experience,’ said Katie Cumming from Gomer Junior School. ‘We have met some girls from other schools and put our knowledge of STEM to the test.’
‘We’ve used our maths to work out ticket prices,’ added her classmate Jasmine Read.
‘I’ve learnt that detail is everything,’ said Evie Crane from Portsmouth High School.
‘It wasn’t easy to design and make,’ added Erin Liu from Portsmouth High School. ‘But with team work and talking to each other we managed to get there in the end.’
The teams then had to present their ideas to a panel of judges; Sarah Crossley from John Wiley and Sons, Caren Soper from QinetiQ, Rinat Khusainov from the University of Portsmouth and Paul Mitchell from BAE Systems.
‘The quality of all of the girls’ work has exceeded my expectations,’ said Mr Mitchell. ‘There has been a genuine enthusiasm for a design and technology task and I have every hope that these girls can continue to be really successful and allowed to use their gifts and talents in the engineering field.’
‘Even at this young age,’ added Mrs Crossley, ‘they are learning that collaboration and team work is important.’
The winning team was Wimborne Park Junior School with their design and presentation which included humour, well thought out pricing and an eco-friendly theme.
‘It has been a really inspiring day,’ said Melody Christopher from Year 6. ‘It has given us the opportunity to work alongside different year groups and it has shown we are resilient – we just kept going and never gave up!’