Rastrick High: Robots capture the imagination

Rastrick High School students have recently been given the opportunity to take part in an exciting new competition run by Tomorrows Engineers in conjunction with Lego.

The Lego Mindstroms Educations EV3 Space Challenge has been designed as an engaging and easy way to introduce students to robotics by working with very current and realworld themes like travelling to and living on Mars.

Ten students from the year nine STEM club have been carefully selected to take part in the challenge which involves building and programming a robot to complete a series of timed challenges. The competition will take place at York Air Museum on June 16.

As part of the selection process to take part in the competition the studentsfrom the STEM Club made a visit to the University of Bradford.

Here the students worked with the robots and programming software and then competed in teams at various challenges set by engineers at the university. These ranged from simply having the robot travel a set distance up to having it move around a board to activate a mechanism and

collect a sample. The winners of the competitions were then selected to take part in the challenge and now will be competing against teams from schools across the north of England.

Another group of students in years seven to nine looked at cryptography throughout the ages and practised using a variety of codebreaking techniques. They first looked at frequency analysis, which uses the fact that some letters are more common than others to break a code and by eliminating letters and using your knowledge of language to decipher the text.

They also looked at the binary system and transposition cipher to crack codes and competed against each other in teams. The students really enjoyed the day and are hoping to return to the university to compete in some energy saving tasks.

For the students who take part in the STEM clubs at Rastrick these types of activities and opportunities are becoming more and more frequent.

Students in the clubs have completed all manner of engineering tasks from building and launching their own rockets to creating their own electronic board games.

The teachers at Rastrick are hoping to encourage more students into the STEM subjects and events like the Lego Mindstorms Educations EV3

Space Challenge have certainly captured the imagination of those involved.

Holly Caffyn and Sophie Lawley, year nine, said: “We enjoy STEM because we learn about different aspects of science while taking part in many different challenges. STEM also allows us to take part in other activities which will later help us to gain experience in the field of science. We look forward to the Lego Mindstorms regional competition where we hope to positively represent Rastrick High School.”