One of the islands primary industries, Vestas, the leading wind turbine manufacturer, played host to local school children this week in a Technology Challenge day organised by Portsmouth High School.
Primary school girls from across the Isle of Wight were challenged to design, build and test a monorail to travel around the island which involved them thinking, planning, constructing and presenting for the day. Mr Graeme Field, Head of Design and Technology, at Portsmouth High School, explained:
‘The girls were tasked with creating a new monorail company for tourist and commuters to travel around the island. They had to decide on a company name and logo, think about the branding of the company and then design and build the carriage before presenting and testing it in front of a panel of judges.
‘What the girls particularly enjoyed is the many different technical aspects which give them problems to solve. We want to encourage girls into STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and this is a great way of doing that.’
Mr John Taylor, who accompanied the girls from Oakfield Primary said:
‘Hosting this event at Vestas has been very impressive. Seeing the scale of what Vestas are making is very exciting and it is wonderful that primary school girls have had a chance to have go and see the value of the sciences. An event like this encourages primary schools to provide more science and technology from an early age.’
‘We have worked hard and realised that if we kept changing the design we would eventually get the carriage to go around corners,’ said Talia Draper, 9, from Carisbrooke Primary. ‘It has been really fun working as a team.’
Mrs Downey from the school added:
‘I have loved watching the way the girls have progressed through the design and have thought about safety and seating and working together to get the results.’
‘Lots of brains equals good results,’ added Shannon Adams, 10, from Dover Park.
‘It has been a very interesting day,’ said Mr Leon Barton an engineer from Vestas who was a judge for the day. ‘It’s been a long time since I was in primary school and I have witnessed some really clever designs and design ideas.’
His fellow judge, Miss Katherine Penn, a test engineer from Vestas, added:
‘I have enjoyed spending the day with some very enthusiastic girls and am hopefully looking at some who will consider a career in engineering in the future. This certainly wasn’t available when I was their age and it is great to see it now. Women are very capable to pursue these careers.’
‘Green Machine’, the team created by Bembridge Primary school were the winners of the challenge and the Headmistress from Portsmouth High School will be visiting the island after half term to present the girls with a trophy.’