Teams have been tasked with working together to design and manufacture a product to improve or enhance the quality of life for a group or person that they consider to be disadvantaged.
In total, about two dozen schools from Shropshire, Staffordshire and the Black Country are taking part in the challenge launched by the MNA, publishers of the Shropshire Star and Express & Star, to promote the importance of the key Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects.
The teams of six pupils, who have been each given a business mentor, will need to demonstrate their product or prototype as a working model at a presentation event at Dudley College of Technology, the challenge’s main sponsor, on July 5.
As part of their research, pupils from Telford Park School and their mentor Joe Dawes from Veolia visited The Lyneal Trust,near Ellesmere, a charity offering canal boat holiday for people with disabilities and their family, friends and carers. They are building a steering tiller for the charity’s adapted canal boats which cater for disabled people.
Their visit involved finding out more about customers’ needs and a short ride on the canal boats to test some designs and theories. Engineer Mr Dawes said: "The children all had ago actually driving the boat to understand first hand how their product would benefit users.
"It was a fun day in the sun for all and the Lyneal Trust are excited to see if the pupils can come up with a final product they can use.”
Meanwhile students from Telford Langley School along with science teacher Staci Rutherford and mentor Lee Drummond, director of teaching and learning at Telford based Cadcoe, were given a tour of the manufacturing facilities at the University of Wolverhampton’s Telford Innovation Campus. Ms Rutherford said the project was going well and event had been useful for giving them ideas
The teams will be judged according to four criteria on July 5– Best Work Plan, sponsored by Entrust; Best Team Work, sponsored by Kuka; Best Operating Model, sponsored by Denso; and Best Presentation, sponsored by the University of Wolverhampton.