08/04/16 - Year 9 Technology & Design Classes with a Difference!
For the past 4 weeks, during Technology & Design lessons, Year 9 pupils have been engaged in an Engineering Futures programme: Pupils used the opportunity to develop their understanding of career opportunities within the field of Engineering. The theme chosen by the 5 different Year 9 groups was ‘Improving Farming Life’. Pupils set about designing a ‘product of the future’ which would make a familiar process either safer or more efficient.
The programme was delivered by SENTINUS, the home of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) enrichment and enhancement activities for schools and young people in Northern Ireland. As the largest STEM outreach provider in the region, Sentinus delivers a wide range of programmes designed to support the teaching and learning of these subjects, particularly within a real world context.
Although focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, Sentinus also gives significant opportunity to enhance employability and personal development through problem solving, team working, target setting, mentoring, working with adults and independent learning.
The programme encouraged the development of links between schools, business and industry and enriched the learning experience for pupils. The Engineering Futures programme is designed to support the delivery of the curriculum, engage students in practical problem solving activities, research and development and investigative projects.
Pupils worked with a real-life engineer who assisted them with the more technical aspects of their designs. Mr. Gareth Stephenson, (a past pupil of the school and currently in his final year of a Product Design degree at Queens University Belfast) was our link engineer. It was fantastic to see a past pupil working with current pupils and offering them an insight into his field of study.
The five groups produced some excellent design proposals. Mr. Stephenson was very impressed with all the designs solution and spoke highly of pupil’s design and creativity skills.
The 5 design solutions were:
A Gas Converter – used to clean the air in and around a slurry tank when mixing.
A Thermal Imaging Camera attached to a harvester – to ensure no one was lying in the field when cutting was taking place.
An Automated Mushroom Picker – increasing productivity and efficiency.
A PTO Sensor – stopping PTO shafts if anyone enters the area between it and the rear of the tractor when it is moving.
A Lamb Raring House – to increase survival rates during lambing season
This was a fantastic opportunity for pupils to further develop the skills required in the world of Technology & Design. All pupils really enjoyed the programme. We extend a huge thank you to Mr. Stephenson for all the time, effort and guidance he gave to the pupils. It was great to have you back in school!