On Tuesday 17th March, girls in the U4th took part in a STEM engineering workshop. It was a fun filled workshop which aimed to give us more insight into the world of engineering and explore possible future career opportunities. We all benefited from the day immensely, and it was great to work with new people and explore new ideas.
The day started off with a talk from civil engineer Steven who was running the workshop, he told us of the many different paths that engineering can take you in and how our modern world today relies on an army of engineers to perform the tasks that we often take for granted. We were then shown a video which demonstrated the importance of physics and engineering. We were then given the task of creating a tower using only paper at least 10cm tall and able to support a weight of 100g. This taught us all how a task that seems simple at first, can prove to hold many different challenges.
The main challenge was to create a working wind turbine complete with a generator and sails using a selection of materials. In teams of five, we assigned ourselves roles which included team leader, product designer, marketing director, finance manager and resource manager. After planning our designs, we decided what materials we needed and hence how much we would need to spend in the ‘shop’ that had been set up. Although we did not have a strict budget, we needed to keep track of finances in order to be able to gain a healthy profit at the end of the day. We then divided the tasks and set to work making the turbine. This brought various adversities to the task as we struggled to find a way to make the sails turn, connect them to the generator and ultimately create a working scale mode of a wind turbine. After 50 minutes of working, all eight teams had created their models. We then pitched our ideas to the other teams before Steven tested our models with an electric fan to replicate the wind.
Overall, the day provided us with many new skills. Not only did we learn practical methods of creating models and working to a deadline, but we also learned how to work as a professional team and solve problems under tight financial constraints. The workshop also opened our eyes to a whole new world of career opportunities in engineering, especially for women. The day gave us all a new enthusiasm for engineering and physics and overall, was extremely enjoyable and insightful.