Your stories

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We'd love to hear your stories of STE(A)M activities so that we can share it with others.

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Schools' Competition - CCHS

On Friday 29 June 2012, the Chelmsford Engineering Society held its annual school/college competition and exhibition in which various students from different schools brought in their projects to show to judges and other technology enthusiasts. Each school/project was given a stall, time to organise themselves, and encouraging smiles from others around, but with more than 60 projects in the competition, it was bound to be a long day.

The projects on display representing CCHS included the Year 8 Go4SET Eco-Classroom, the Engineering Education Scheme projects and A-Level Product Design projects from Megan Copnell and Rebecca Shelford. Throughout the day judges came and went, not just inspecting our projects but inspiring us through their incredible experience in technology and impressive careers.

At the end of the day, once the judging was complete, everyone was summoned to a lecture hall and the price giving ceremony began, along with a motivating talk straight after. The G04SET team achieved a Highly Commended and the EES team in the Systems and Control category came runners-up in their age group.  These two groups will attended the Prize Ceremony on Saturday 14 July. Many thanks again to the Chelmsford Engineering Society for being so inspirational to our young engineers.

Written by a student from Chelmsford County High School for Girls

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Should I host the IET Faraday Challenge at my school?

By Bob Easby, Westcliff High School for Boys

I first attended a Faraday Challenge with a group of Year 8 students from Westcliff High School for Boys on a cold January day in 2012. I was initially impressed at how a school hall, full of 36 excited 13-year-olds suddenly fell silent when the Faraday presenters began describing the day's challenge. The mood hardly changed with all the teams working diligently in, what for 13-year-olds, seemed to be total silence for the whole day. The boys were so enthusiastic on the way back to Westcliff that I resolved to try to host the event the following year.

Find out more from the IET website

Faraday Challenge Days are one-day STEM activities developed by the IET for six teams of six students aged 12-13 years for secondary schools, and also available for self-delivery in primary schools. The challenge days take place over approximately a six month period at schools throughout the UK.

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Graduate's View - Jack

Should I Consider Engineering?

Find out more about what life in an engineering related career is like - and why you might like to work in an engineering company yourself.

Engineering. Sounds pretty dull doesn't it? That is until you start working in engineering. I am now a graduate in electronic engineering, and below I'll try to tell you how I managed to get a job that lets me work on some pretty awesome military equipment (don't ask I can't you...), travel round the world and get paid a good amount of money for it!

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A Sixth-Former's View by Ollie

CSES Schools' Engineering and Technology Competition by Ollie, year 12 from KEGS

This competition is a great way to show off a science or engineering project that you have been working on. This could be Design and Technology coursework (for example I entered my year 11 electronics coursework), a project from a school club, or something you’ve been working on at home. There are many categories to suit all different kinds of work. During the day, you spend time explaining and demonstrating your project to the judges (usually various engineering professionals) as well as your fellow students at the event. You also get a chance to see what other people have done. This can be great if you are looking for inspiration for future projects, especially if you look at what students older than you have done. You can enter alone or as a team, and if you’re good enough, there are significant prizes to be won. If you think you have a relevant project, I would encourage you to enter.

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Smallpeice Residential Engineering Courses

By James, Year 12

I have been fortunate enough to be able to attend two courses with the Smallpeice Trust. Each was an incredibly informative insight into the world of engineering, and they have together helped me in choosing my path through Sixth Form - guiding my options choices - and in cementing my desire to pursue a career in engineering. During these courses, I had opportunities to speak to many professional engineers, across varied disciplines of engineering, and was fortunate enough to be able to visit a Power Station, along with a Gas Turbine Station - both on a course sponsored by National Grid. These were fascinating experiences, visiting sites which would regularly not be open to the general public.

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A Year 10 Student's View by Joe

CSES Schools' Engineering and Technology Competition by Joe, year 10 from KEGS

I'm Joe, and I took part in the 2011 CSES Schools' Engineering and Technology Competition. I entered a project I had done at an after school science and engineering club at my school. We were required to design and build a mode of transport for less than £10, and produce a project folder fully evaluating the steps we took to build our vehicle, and analyse the final product. I also put this forward for a silver CREST Award. My friend Dan and I looked at several types of transport to build, but decided on a hovercraft. Designing this hovercraft was a good way of developing our design skills, both on CAD and on paper. After building several prototypes, we decided on the one below.

Joe and Dan at the CSES schools' competition

Being able to build and test these prototypes was a great, practical way of learning vital Technology and Engineering skills such as problem solving. Completing the project folder also taught us a lot about evaluation and presentation, and about the harsh reality of deadlines! It was very fun building and painting our vehicle, and the sense that we'd really achieved something was brilliant.

We took our vehicle and the 30-page project folder to the judging event at Anglia Ruskin University, organised by CSES, and talked at great lengths to several of the judges about what we had built, how we had built it and what we had learned along the way. It was great being able to tell people about what we had done, and to meet and talk to engineers and learn about the opportunities that are available to us. It was an added bonus to the day that we won our category! We really enjoyed taking part in this competition, and feel like we'd really achieved something. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes Engineering or thinks that it's something they'd maybe like to do as a career, as you can learn a lot, and I'd like to thank CSES for the opportunity.

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