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Cornish school wins regional Subsea STEM competition

Published: March 22, 2018

Falmouth Marine School Falmouth

A school from Cornwall has shown its scientific and engineering credentials by winning the regional heats of a prestigious science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) competition.

Helston School were victorious in winning the South West STEM heats, which kicked off last week at Falmouth Marine School with six teams competing from Penryn College, Helston College and Truro High School for girls.

The STEM Challenge, led by Subsea UK and supported by The Smallpeice Trust, is a new initiative aimed at encouraging school pupils to consider a career at sea. Teams of year nine students are competing in a design-and-make challenge for the marine industries across the UK.

The students were tasked to design and build an ROV using Lego Mindstorms, a platform produced by Lego to develop programmable robots based on Lego building blocks. Each version of the system included an intelligent brick computer that controls the system, a set of modular sensors and motors, and Lego parts from the Technic line to create the mechanical systems.

Helston School, with their robot named Marine Cable, were the victors of the challenge. James Allen, teacher from Helston School said: “It was inspirational day, the students threw themselves in to the challenge fully, and from a personal point of view it was great to see so many young people work for nearly a whole day at a problem with very little direction.”

Cara Jackson, aged 14, from Penryn College commented: “I have really enjoyed the challenge today and looking around the engineering and science workshops at Falmouth Marine School. Taking part didn’t feel like being in school and I know more than ever that I want a career in engineering.

The winning team received a Think Kit from The Smallpeice Trust, with all the tools needed to run an in-school challenge and build a floating wind turbine.

They will travel to Aberdeen, the Global Centre of Excellence for Subsea, for a morning of company visits before the Subsea UK STEM Challenge concludes with the final competition

The team will have the opportunity to prove their model in a test tank and deliver a short presentation to a judging panel before the overall winner is announced.

Trish Banks, operations manager of Subsea UK said: “The aim of this event is to inspire the young to be part of our industry. The competition is a way of igniting a passion for engineering and it’s great to have schools involved all across the country.

“The students will be given an overview of how STEM impacts everyday life and have the opportunity to hear directly from young representatives from the subsea industry. We want to build engagement from right across the sector so I’d encourage companies to get involved and help us inspire the next generation.”

Head of Falmouth Marine School, Justin Olosunde commented: “We were delighted to be involved in this exciting taster into the world of subsea engineering. All of the teams did remarkably well and should be proud of their achievements.”

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