Budding young engineers from Years 7 and 8 at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe recently took part in two Science and Engineering based Challenge Days aimed at encouraging their creativity, innovation and problem solving skills.
Saint Paul’s has specialist status for Engineering and has a distinctive science and engineering ethos running throughout the school and are very keen to inspire and engage the pupils in Science and Engineering.
The focus on engineering has meant that all pupils experience an increased concentration on design and technology, mathematics and science, the aim being to raise achievement for all students by providing increased opportunities for them to follow a wide range of vocational pathways.
During the Challenge Days, the pupils took part in a number of science and engineering based activities including an international marble challenge, a labyrinth puzzle challenge, t shirt design and printing and circus skills.
The pupils were observed and then nominated for a series of awards: best team, best team player, best leadership skills, kindest participant, most enthusiastic participant, most competitive participant, most considerate participant, most creative participant and the participant with the best ideas. The awards were then presented in a special assembly to highlight some of the important skills of the pupils.
Ms Catherine Collier, Director of Curriculum at Saint Paul’s, said: “Students taking part in the Science and Engineering Challenge Days experience hands-on design and practical work giving them a peek into the life of a real engineer, the variety of engineering out there and the central role it plays in our everyday lives.”
“The pupils worked in small groups to carry out a series of tasks where they researched, designed and built solutions to the real life engineering problems,” explained Ms Collier. “It allowed our pupils to work together to solve problems, enhancing their team building and communication skills. All those involved commented that they had experienced a challenging but fun day and got to engage in activities which they wouldn’t normally do, for example, in the International Marble Run the pupils had to design and construct a structure that would allow a marble to travel across the continent.”
“These were extremely successful days and it was a great way to show young people the vital role engineering plays in our lives,” commented Head Teacher, Mr Wiktor Daron. “The event was a fantastic opportunity for our pupils. They were able to take part in some exciting problem solving activities which, whilst being fun, enhanced some important skills such as leadership, consideration for others and working together to a common goal.”
Mr Daron added: “We hope that events such as this will encourage more young people to study and consider exciting and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.”