Hugh Sexey Church of England Middle School
Together we believe; Together we achieve

Year 8 STEM workshop: design and build challenge.

On Tuesday 25th January, the Science and DT Faculty invited a group of 30 Year 8 pupils to participate in an exciting STEM workshop which was hosted by a company called STEMworks on behalf of EDF Energy. 


During the first part of the workshop pupils discussed how we generate electricity. Pupils learnt about the way in which we generate energy is having a significant impact on the environment, therefore EDF energy have started looking at sustainable sources so they can reduce 100% of carbon emissions by 2050. 


During the second part of the workshop pupils learnt how Hinckley Point C is being constructed and about careers linked to electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, construction, logistics and project management.


Pupils were then set an exciting team challenge: Design and make a structure that can lift, manoeuvre and position a roof on top of a model nuclear reactor chamber. 

The structure must be made from the resources provided in the team kit.


Pupils learnt what skills they would need to use as part of the team challenge and why good communication, team working, problem solving and organisation are known as employability skills.


Before starting the challenge pupils worked their way through the design process. First of all they analysed the problem. Pupils identified key points to consider such as the strength of the structure, the weight of the crane and roof that is being moved, clearance height and roof size. Pupils then wrote a design specification by including a set of criteria points that their design needed to meet and produced some design ideas for the overall structure. Once complete pupils had to delegate key roles to each member of their team which included a team manager, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer and structural engineer. Once roles had been assigned pupils were given two hours to create their structure using plastic Meccano, incorporating an electronic circuit and pulley mechanism.


At the end of the workshop each group had to present their finished structure and explain how they created it, what went well during the construction process and what improvements could be made.


Pupils commented on how much they enjoyed being able to think creatively whilst using problem solving, teamwork and communication skills to design and build a suitable outcome. Miss Latti stated “This workshop was a fantastic opportunity for pupils to apply real-world applications of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in a fun way. Pupils were encouraged to consider studying STEM subjects and pursue careers within the engineering and technology sectors. I hope the pupils feel inspired.”