Engineering? No problems for town’s children

Young engineers at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne SUS-140714-162945001
Young engineers at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne SUS-140714-162945001

A competition for primary schools in Eastbourne helped underpin the aims of education chiefs to ensure the UK is developing the engineers it needs for the 21st century.

Teams of four Year Two pupils from seven Eastbourne schools took part in the 2014 Junior Engineers Challenge at the Congress Suite on Monday, July 7.

The World Cup Challenge was organised by the Eastbourne Education Business Partnership as part of its Engineering Club programme.

Overall winners were: in first place – Shinewater Primary School; in second place – Langney Primary School and Highly Commended – Roselands Infants School.

The junior engineers were asked to think about the kinetic energy that’s released when a footballer’s boot strikes a ball. They also thought about the accuracy required to strike the ball and the shape of the boot toe. The challenge had two elements; making one football boot that would take a penalty kick and a second boot with a wedged toe for taking a free kick over the heads of defenders and into goal. Boots were constructed using a water bottle together with other materials providing weight, shape and decoration.

To give things a World Cup theme, each team chose a different country, identified the location on a world map, and decorated their boots in the country’s flag colours. Each boot was fitted to a special pendulum ‘leg assembly’ used to aim the boot at the ball and goal. Each boot had to meet the design specification, with the toe shape and ‘kick’ determining performance.

Teams were judged on the number of goals, construction and look of each boot, with further points for teamwork and innovation. All teams completed the challenge but with a variety of results. One or two missed the goal and some hit the defenders.

Scores at the end were close but Shinewater was judged winner and received the Challenge trophy and prizes. There were prizes for the two runners’ up teams and a special certificate for everyone. Dave Cooper, founder of the Engineering Club, also attended to see the teams in action.

Keepmoat and Brighton & Hove Albion sponsored the prizes and Eastbourne Theatres provided the venue. Eastbourne EBP thanked everyone who was involved.