KS5 engineers win local competition
On Thursday 10th March, three teams of four students from Bournemouth School entered the Rotary Challenge – an engineering competition between local secondary schools. The annual event is hosted by Bournemouth Collegiate School and is sponsored by Marden Edwards (an engineering company based in Ferndown) and BAE Systems. The KS5 team, comprising solely of Lower Sixth students, won their category.
Other competitors included Bournemouth Collegiate School, BSG, Bishop of Winchester, Glenmore, St. Peter’s, Twynham and Winton.
The 2016 challenge saw the teams constructing bridges from straws, paper, card, drawing pins and string. The specification increased in difficulty for the older students, with the KS5 team having to construct a bridge that span a gap from two blocks of wood and that could be opened to simulate a boat passing beneath it, whilst supporting a 1kg weight. There were less specifications for the lower years, with, for example, only one side of the bridge needing to be raised as opposed to both.
The London Bridge reportedly inspired their winning design.
The event took place over the course of an entire day in the BCS sports hall. Competitors arrived for the 09:00 start, at which time they were briefed on what had to be achieved by 13:30 . They then had to prepare a portfolio and gather ideas, which took roughly 30 minutes, showcasing their ideas to the judging panel. This was the first source of points, as the teams were judged partly on the presentation of their ideas. Once the portfolio had been submitted to the panel, the teams could begin work.
KS5 started by constructing two short and wide pillars like those rising from the Thames to support the London Bridge, but instead of bricks and mortar, the team used straws and plasticine. However, this was soon discovered to provide insufficient support, and so was reinforced with cardboard. Out of these two pillars flowered the rest of the bridge.
The team had completed it with ample time to spare, and so set about peppering the structure with aesthetic enhancements like flags, fences, logos and other decorations.
After all competitors were called to sheath their weapons of tape and scissors, it was testing time. Beneath the judges’ watchful eyes peering down elongated noses, the sixth formers smoothly executed the simultaneous drawing up of the two halves of the bridge and demonstrated its capability to sustain the 1kg weight without, as surrounding teams experienced, a fatal collapse. Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have been pleased. The judges then moved on to assess the constructions of the other schools, leaving the BS team in suspense: would they be crowned victors?
Once the judges had filled in tables on clipboards, scribbled numbers and ticked and crossed, the competitors were to receive a presentation from senior members of BAE Systems and Marden Edwards, encouraging the practice of engineering and illustrating its worth and crucial part in the modern world. The prize giving then commenced.
KS3: The KS3 team experienced some technical hitches, and fell short of the top prize in their category.
KS4: Our KS4 team finished 3rd place in their category.
KS5: Having been announced victors, the four representatives of Bournemouth School’s KS5 were beckoned forwards to accept their prize. This year, the prize was a £40 book voucher, various items of stationary and other assorted paraphernalia.
Jonathan Edwards (of Marden Edwards) said: “I believe a congratulations are in order for your KS5 team. A clear winner and a novel design. The only team to successfully meet the testing criteria. Obviously the team would be welcome to have a tour of what we are doing.”
Thank you to Mr. Heyes, the Head of the Design and Technology Department, for submitting the photographs taken at Bournemouth Collegiate School used in this article.