Willingdon Community School won the 21st annual Young Engineers Challenge organised by Eastbourne Education Business Partnership on behalf of the Eastbourne Engineering Club. The challenge theme focused on the forthcoming Winter Olympics and issues around gravity and friction.
Following a presentation by club chairman, David Cooper, the 16 teams of Year 6 and Year 7 pupils were tasked with building a flying bobsleigh that would then be flight tested.
Working with a common chassis – a squash bottle – and other supplied materials, the challenge proved just that with the teams refining performance over aesthetics.
Everyone persevered and experienced a range of engineering, problem solving and team working skills. Flight testing from a special ramp at Bede’s Sports Hall produced a variety of flight results and some spectacular crashes.
The teams were judged on their design and the quality of bobsleigh construction, the distance flown, or not, and how they worked as a team.
Eastbourne mayor Mike Thompson assisted with the judging and presented the prizes to the winning teams.
Commodore Barry Brooks, president of the Institution of Engineering & Technology, gave a closing presentation about the IET and engineering. Dr Steven Goss-Turner, chairman of Eastbourne EBP, was also present.
Engineers from local pump companies, Wright Flow Technologies Ltd, Alfa Laval Pumps Ltd and HMD Seal/less Pumps Ltd helped to plan the challenge, provided sponsorship and assisted on the day. Eastbourne Theatres and JWD Enterprises helped with tables, Southern Water sponsored lunch and Bede’s Preparatory School once again provided the venue.
“Our 21st annual challenge helped to put some real engineering lessons in context for the pupils and was great fun as ever,” said Tim Sorensen on behalf of Eastbourne EBP.
“It also encouraged teamwork and helped them to develop their practical skills. We were pleased that so many schools were able to take part and grateful to our sponsors for their generous support once again.”
Willingdon received the Young Engineers Challenge Trophy and special team and individual prizes. The runners up were West Rise Junior School and Bourne Primary School. All participants received a special certificate in recognition of achievement.