One of the island’s 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 years 5 and 6 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 tourists 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.’
Miss Emily Metcalf, who accompanied the girls from Gurnard Primary School said:
‘This was a great day. The girls really had to tackle a difficult concept and problem solve. It has been well worth coming.’
‘We learned how to work really well as a team,’ said Effie Whittle from Shalfleet Primary School. ‘We had all the materials given to us to make a prototype,’ added Grace Honeyman Brown. ‘It has really given me lots of confidence to try and tackle problems like this.’
The winning team was from Shalfleet Primary School. Ms Wendy Craig from Portsmouth High School who judged the challenge said:
‘We were all impressed by the girls’ consistent approach to their brand which linked with the environmental. They worked hard as a team and showed a focused approach with all members of the team involved during different stages of the design process. They presented well and were able to describe the reasons behind their ideas with a focus on their passenger’s comfort.
Mr Richardson who accompanied the girls from Shalfleet added:
‘The team has exceeded my expectations of problem solving and have worked well as a team, stretching their imagination and thinking out of the box. They have done so well including presenting and public speaking in a very enjoyable day.’
John Rimmer, Director of Rotor Engineering, Vestas said:
‘It is great to see the next generation doing so well in these challenges and enouraging girls into the tech world. These are our budding engineers of the future.’