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Year 10 STEM students prove they have the ‘drive’ to build sustainable energy race car - 28/03/2018

Year 10 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) students at the University Church of England Academy are making great strides in their efforts to create a sustainable energy race car. This is an amazing opportunity for this group of boys at UCEA to prove themselves in a nationwide competition, hosted by GreenPower Education Trust. The competition provides a very exciting challenge for the team, allowing them to test their skills and talents against a number of schools across the country. The competition was developed specifically to give young people an opportunity to gain working experience within the engineering industry while also inspiring them to look for careers in the STEM sector. The brief is to create a viable, fully functioning sustainable energy powered car. Also, to be successful they will be racing the completed car against other schools in a number of trials (on a real race track) to find the most economical car. This project is being supported by the University of Chester whose STEM Outreach Team at Thornton Science Park has kindly supplied the school with the kit for the car. Support has also come from David Bolam, an experienced teacher in both Technology and Engineering, as well as Ian Dykes, a Science Technician at the Academy. David Bolam explains the progress made so far: “We have been working on the project now for a number of months and will continue over the next two years. The team meets each month and has already started to put the chassis and the main components together. With access to Thornton Science Park and their extensive University-standard equipment and machinery, we are able to use top of the range materials and processes which will give us the best chance to be successful. “This project gives the students involved the opportunity to look into real world energy problems while using cutting edge technology, hopefully opening related career pathways for them in the future. A successful run in this competition has the potential to open doors for STEM career opportunities in the local area and beyond.” He added: “The selected group of Year 10 students spent their first few sessions at Thornton Science Park assembling the chassis of their car. They are now well into designing the monocoque frame (single shell) for the car body which must be as aerodynamic as possible.” “The team comprises of Jamie Cavanagh (Group Leader) and his deputy Marcel Kucharski, together with Aaron Owens, Albie Rossiter, Ben Jones, Ben Taylor, Ben Walters, Liam Terry, Morgan Parry and William Nuttall. All ten boys have risen to the challenge and there is a real air of positivity, creativity and aspirational work taking place and the boys are thoroughly engaged. “This project has already given the boys a great insight into how STEM products operate in the real world situation and has opened their eyes to a vast range of career opportunities available in Ellesmere Port and the wider world. It has also shown how STEM initiatives can help work alongside their GCSE work giving them a better grasp on some Mathematic, Scientific, and Technological concepts to help their school work progress.” Jamie Cavanagh, STEM Group Leader, said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be a part of this project to build and race an electric car that we have made ourselves. I felt so proud that the team voted for me to be their team leader and I will try to show the qualities that they saw in me by voting for me. I look forward to racing in a renewable energy car and I understand we are very lucky as few schools have been given the opportunity we have been given.” Ben Jones, Year 10 UCEA Student, added: “This project has come at just the right time for me and has given me the chance to do something really worthwhile. My dad works at Thornton Science Park and has seen what we have done and he says he is extremely proud of me. I don’t want to let him or my team down.” David Bolam said: “This is an exciting and rare opportunity for young men in this community to show their passion for engineering and have an opportunity to develop a project that will help them no end in their future STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) careers. It will also be an exciting challenge for them to create a real working racing car and a brilliant opportunity for them to race at a real racetrack against other students from around the whole country. The project will also develop their knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing designers and engineers in the future by highlighting the need for alternative energies and sustainable designs for the future good of the planet.”

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