Today, we had a visit from the RAF. They gave us a talk about STEM and helped us construct and race robots.
To build the electronic Lego-based machines, we had to put our creative side to the test. We started by setting up the EV3, which is a machine that controls the robot. We connected the motors, wires and a lot more other technical essentials. This had to be one of the most challenging experiences that we have ever faced in school!
Next, we were taught how to set them up with the iPad via Bluetooth. The challenge was to get them to travel from one side of the assembly hall to the other. It was so much fun getting to make a real robot and teaching it to spin.
Next came the big robot race! We had 15 minutes to practise and make sure they were all set at the right times and instructions. “Ready, steady, go!” Some starts were better and faster than others. Some robots got all tangled up but most them made it to the finish line.
We then had a very interesting speech from Joshua Beer about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) including some brilliant video clips about engineering and the wonderful things engineers are trying at the moment. We found out some shocking facts: under 20% of engineers are women and that the UK needs another 1.8 million engineers by 2025!
At the end, we had an emotional speech by the RAF supervisor who told us that he didn’t care about his GCSEs when he was younger, but then deeply regretted this when he applied for the Air Force because he did not have the right qualifications. The RAF were very good to him, and they give him the chance to re-sit his exams at the age of 25. This was really difficult because he was then married with two children while also working overseas.
It reminded us that we need to take our opportunities in school. If you work hard and achieve your potential at school then “nothing will stand in our way”. That’s our school motto: “Nil Obstet”.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity – the RAF were brilliant and we had a most fascinating day.
Anna B, Maya N, Sarah P (Year 9)