30th July 2013

The winning team from Broadway East with Grease Lightning!

The winning team from Broadway East with Grease Lightning!

A car built by pupils at Broadway East Primary School in Gosforth has streaked into the top spot at the finals of the Primary Engineer Challenge held earlier this month, seeing off competition from over thirty schools in the region.

The Primary Engineer Challenge is aimed at inspiring boys and girls of primary age to become designers and makers from an early age. It brings together schools and local engineering companies to provide a real-world context to core STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  The pupils are tasked with designing and creating a working model car.

At the launch in February, Pearson Engineering, based in Walker and part of the Reece Group, was linked with Broadway East. Since then, senior engineer, Matt Handley and apprentice, Ben Gillespie, have worked with the children and guided them through the processes involved in designing and building a model car.  During this time the children have learnt about shapes and perspectives and the principles of gravity and friction.

Used to developing innovative products for the global defence sector,   Matt was impressed with the enthusiasm and capability the children demonstrated in approaching the formidable task ahead of them. He said:

“The children have been really fantastic – their comprehension of the processes involved in designing and creating their vehicle has been astonishing and they have showed such enthusiasm and dedication, even missing their playtimes to iron out the challenges that arose.   Both Ben and I have been impressed not only by their understanding of gearing and electrical currents but also by their ability to work problems out intuitively and using good old common sense.

“Embedding an enthusiasm for engineering at a young age is vital for our industry and the region and it has been a really rewarding process for Pearson Engineering to be involved with Broadway East and Primary Engineer.”

At the finals the children were interviewed by the judges and then the vehicles were put through rigorous testing for stability, manoeuvrability and the capability to drive and reverse in a straight line and to climb a series of increasingly steep ramps.

Broadway East’s ‘Grease Lightning’ scored top markings in the first stage and then lived up to its name scooping the top prize by being the only car able to climb the third steepest ramp.  The children were presented with certificates and technical Lego sets.