industrial cadets at ugs - Bronze crest award & judge's special commendation

Year 9 Aizah tells us about Industrial Cadets & their amazing STEM project & award!

In March this year 5 students from Year 9 were selected to compete in a National competition: Industrial Cadets. This is a STEM project where students are given a topic around which they are asked to create something. At UGS we were given the topic ‘My school is an Island’, and we were tasked with creating a school that would take in factors such as energy resources, travel, food and much more.

Our team consisted of Gui, Daniela, Aizah, Akhilesh, Theo and Ritta, and teachers and staff Mr Murray, Mrs Hoyle, Mr Leech, Mrs Yarwood and Mr Smith who all worked with each of us to help us, as well as mentors who work for our sponsored company Cargill.

Our team decided on different roles for each person according to their strengths. I was the Report writer, Gui was the Project Manager, Theo and Akhilesh were responsible for Research, Daniela for Design and Ritta looked at Finance.

At the beginning of our project, we had to come up with a unique focus. For the first few weeks this proved difficult as our whole team had so many different ideas that we wanted to add into the school. We then decided that our focus would be sustainable energy resources and food on the island, and that our energy resource would be Step power tiles. These tiles, when they are pushed down, rotate a gear which then generates electricity. For food on the island, we used aquaculture and Aquaponics, integrated with vertical farming.

The design was also an important part of our project and Daniela had come up with a design for the school that was able to take in the sunlight at all angles, and that allowed for the wind to be easily transferred through wind turbines. And the buildings in the school needed to be spaced out to maximise step power.

We built a model of the school and a model of a tile that generates electricity: 

Once our research was done, we wrote a detailed report.  Everyone on the team worked hard on this, and we made sure to separate the work so that everyone was contributing to the project. This took a long time as our team had to factor in the many components that would build up into a school.

After 10 weeks of working on our project we submitted our report. It was a relief to have completed such a long project but also an amazing achievement for us all.

I really enjoyed working on this and I have learnt so much about how we can create and build something from scratch. Two weeks after the submission day we were interviewed by a panel of judges who asked us questions about our project. It would be up to this panel to decide if our school would win an award in competition against other schools who have also been involved in Industrial Cadets.

Report on Celebration Day in Liverpool

This was the day that we would find out the results and meet all the other competitors and have the opportunity to see their projects. Our team went with staff to the University of Liverpool where the exhibition of our work and the ceremony was taking place. Every school had a stand and a model, and it was great to see all their work and to display our own.

After looking at all the different stands we got to vote for our favourite Bronze and Gold project before finding out the results for the student choice award in the afternoon, as well as all the other awards that we were competing for.

The Bronze award was for year 8s and 9s, and to gain the crest award we had to complete a minimum of 20 hours. The Gold crest award was for college/ 6th formers, and they had around 6 months to complete their project. This mean that their projects were more complex and my favourite was one on how to monitor the health of bees in the winter. They had created a website using a Raspberry Pi device which would measure all the factors that affect the health of bees, that would then put all the results on the website!

After looking at all the projects our team went to a talk about Electrical engineering at the University, where we learnt about the amazing things that the University is researching and looking into. For example, they are working on a project that will get rid of infections using a plaster with plasma on it, instead of going to a hospital for medicine and antibiotics. Then we went to do an activity with Ozobots. This is a small device that has a sensor which will move according to different codes of colour. For example, if you drew a line which had red, blue and green, then the bot would move right. This was a really good experience, as it gave us an an idea as to how driverless cars work because they use sensors like this too.

Finally, after lunch, we went to the Awards ceremony and our team got the Bronze crest award. We did not win any trophies, however we were awarded ‘second place’ - usually there is no second place in the awards, however because the judges thought that our project deserved recognition as they could see we how hard we worked on it, they decided that we deserved a special commendation award!

Our team were slightly disappointed that we did not win, however we are still happy that we had done so well in the project and that we received special recognition and commendation for all the effort that we put in.

Report by Aizah 9U; also with thanks to Year 9s Gui, Daniela, Akhilesh, Theo and Ritta