CultureTECH has launched a design competition to seek out the problem solvers of tomorrow.
The competition is sponsored by Seagate Technology and is called the Seagate Design Challenge.
The design challenge was launched in St. Mary’s College on Tuesday and is open to schools right across the North.
CultureTECH’s Education Programme Manager, Dr. Rachel McDermott, said she was bowled over by how Year 10 pupils from St. Mary’s College and St. Cecilia’s College engaged with the competition during the launch.
“An aim of this project is to direct pupils towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects,” said Dr. McDermott.
“We want to see as many young people as possible taking part in this competition and it’s great to see a company like Seagate getting involved. All of the pupils I spoke to who took part in the launch said they enjoyed it.”
Pupils from both schools who attended the launch were presented with three problems and encouraged to work in teams.
The problems manifested themselves in the form of a grandmother, a father and a teenager who all had dilemmas that required a technological solution.
The pupils were told the grandmother had severe arthritis. In a bid to help the older woman with her everyday chores, the pupils were instructed to thing outside of the box.
“We designed a robot that could help the older woman with anything she found difficult because of her arthritis,” said 13 year-old St. Cecilia’s College Year 10 pupil, Niamh Hawes.
“I really enjoyed the workshop and it’s made me really think about STEM subjects and what difference they could make to my future,” added Niamh.
Fellow 13 year-old St. Cecilia’s College pupil, Mallaidh Duffy, worked with Niamh to try and come up with a variety of technological solutions.
“Another problems that we were presented with was a man who didn’t like waiting in traffic jams,” said Mallaidh.
“We came up with an Echo Location GPS System. This system would be able to tell the man where the traffic was at its worst and it would then navigate the quickest route to his destination.”
St. Mary’s College pupils, Hannah Lang, 14, and Rachel McLaren, 13, said the would like to take part in more competitions and events like the design challenge.
“It’s a chance for us to try different things,” said Hannah.
“STEM subjects are very important to young people my age and I enjoy the practical side of things. It was great working in a team to try and come up with solutions to these problems,” said Rachel.
Dr. McDermott said that once all of the competition entries have been completed and assessed CultureTECH will host a special showcasing event before the end of the year.
“The young people coming through the education system today will be our problem solvers, our scientists and engineers of tomorrow.
“We will be hosting the showcase event before the end of the academic year and it will feature the designs of young people from right across the North.
“My advice to pupils is to get involved in the competition and the wackier the idea the better,” said Dr. McDermott.
For more information on the Seagate Design Challenge visit www.culturetech.co