Normally, this is an event we attend in person, competing against other schools. Last year, two of our teams reached the regional finals. This year, we were able to offer this challenge to all our senior students, holding an in-school competition. The purpose of this event was for students to have practical experiences using their knowledge in mathematics and science to build their creations, incorporating key competencies and POWER in the process. Materials used consisted of: lengths of aluminium, wheels, pulleys, axles, gears, joiners, rope, bolts and wing nuts, and reels.
Students were placed into teams of three or four, working alongside each other to follow instructions and build a crane, a bridge, and a ‘caveman car’. Students did well to follow written instructions, only looking at the video guidelines when absolutely necessary. Many students were keen to develop their own creations. As such, our school has purchased our very own kit, allowing students to follow their passion for STEAM subjects - combining science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.
I know how to use the red joiners to connect the corners and the blue joiners to put support in the middle. - Isobel
The crane was challenging. We used the pulley and rope to be able to drag the tyre up and it did support the weight. - Lizzie
We had to make the crane up to 1.8 metres, which is pretty tall. - Tessa
I wanted to build the caveman car to go across the bridge. If I wind these, it actually makes the wheels go around and it moves. Best school day ever! - Oscar
There were strong links to the key competencies of thinking (mathematical and logical thinking, knowing how to find flaws in thinking, cause and effect thinking) and participating and contributing. In the classroom, “this key competency helps build a deeper level of engagement in learning by tapping into things that have personal meaning and value for students. Authentic learning is important because children can often do much more than they can say, particularly in areas that really interest them. It is affirming for students to be able to show their strength and capability in an area they are keen on.”(Capable Kids: Working with the Key Competencies, TKI.)
It was exciting to see how many students were motivated by these engineering-related challenges and we look forward to organising more in-class experiences in the future.
Keywords: Epro8, technology challenge, key competencies, POWER