‘Everyone said it was impossible. They said I was just dreaming.’
Betrand Piccard, psychiatrist and explorer
Your challenge is to launch a new company. You must then design your first vehicle which must be environmentally friendly. How will it move? What will provide its energy? How will you store its energy? Will it travel on air, water or land?
A taxing brief even for technical specialists and designers from the world’s leading companies but when Year 6 girls at three GDST schools were presented with the challenge, they jumped at the chance. It was the perfect opportunity for ‘thinking outside the box’ and taking a lead in how technology of the future could grow.
The collaborative project was masterminded by Mr Marshallsay, Headmaster of Portsmouth High Prep School, who engaged Portsmouth pupils and staff with two other GDST schools, South Hampstead High School and Putney High School.
The first stage was to decide on a company name and create a logo considering what would set a company out from the crowd and how it would attract customers. Writing powerful mission statements and being clear about what the company is trying to achieve were key points in the discussions between the girls on Microsoft Teams.
Brainstorming of ideas then progressed to the design of the vehicle itself considering the key element of the brief which was only to use sustainable energy sources. Decisions about the best source and how to make it work to power the motor were key areas in the group discussions.
The designers’ work was not restricted to Teams meetings. Groups allocated tasks to each member for the week ahead. Betty from Putney and Elsie from Portsmouth said ‘It’s been really good to meet and get to know girls from other schools and have the chance to work together. We meet on a Monday but message each other throughout the week to exchange ideas when we are working on our project’.
After a lot of research, and modifying designs, the groups each put together a presentation of their new vehicle, delivered on Teams. Their ideas were questioned by teachers and peers in other groups encouraging the girls to think how ideas are going to become workable solutions.
Deputy Head Girl Verity from Year 6 at Portsmouth High School said ‘I have really enjoyed working with girls from different GDST schools. We got to know each other very well and it’s been great hearing other people’s ideas. Figuring out lots of different ways to power our new vehicle has been very exciting because we all have different opinions on how to make the motors move, and what environmentally friendly power resources would work. I have had a brilliant time’.
Headmaster Mr Marshallsay said ‘The response from Year 6 across the three schools has been amazing. They have relished the opportunity to team up with girls from across the GDST and the quality of the work they have produced is remarkable. This project has inspired them to learn together, collaborate and form new friendships. I look forward to leading or taking part in many more of these projects in the future, connecting children from across the country and beyond’.