Lockers Park has taken the title for this year’s Prep Schools Technology Challenge, which is in its third year.
Nine schools took part and the teams, each consisting of three Year 6 pupils, spent some 2½ hours designing, making and testing devices to satisfy the practical tasks that were set by Technology teacher, Graeme Macpherson-Smith.
St Joseph’s in the Park was second, Hendon Prep third and Roselands fouth. Other schools which participated included Aldwickbury, Lambrook Haileybury, Beechwood Park, Lochinver House and Duncombe.
This year’s challenge set tasks ranging from taking a pack of given materials and using only a set number of tools to satisfying two practical tasks. The first challenge was to see how many tennis balls could be successfully moved in 35 seconds from a bench-top, through a 180º turn and deposited into a bin. There was an exclusion zone of 1m around the bench and around the bin. Two runs against the clock were allowed, with an aggregate total being carried forward.
A second test was to use the same device to move the tennis balls from the same start point, turning again through 180º, but this time attempting to balance three balls, one on each of three cones placed 1m from the line, in the fastest time.
The teams were given 30 minutes to discuss, design and plan possible solutions. There was a requirement to present a simple specification and two different designs, each complete with details of materials, construction, sizes and operation. These sheets, together with teamwork, methods, organisation and standard of practical work was taken into consideration in the final result, along with the success and results of the actual tests.
"The entire afternoon was extremely enjoyable as all nine teams busied themselves with the tasks at hand and tried to complete all aspects within the given time. Some very searching questions were asked throughout the session and highlighted the high level of understanding and real flair for design that was on show," says Mr Macpherson-Smith.
"The design ideas were varied and interesting, with an impressive range of scoops, grabbers, tweezers and other devices that included mechanisms being produced. Some teams performed extremely well in the main tests whilst other has clearly produced well-thought out and clear designs that included all necessary details."
It was certainly a competition of "swings and roundabouts" which ultimately led to a very close finish. Well done to Lockers Park and indeed to all the teams for making the day a successful and extremely enjoyable occasion.