Young engineers have got their hands on industry standard equipment to see not just how science works in everyday life but in the working world.
Schoolchildren from AKS, the merged Arnold King Edward Queen Mary School, have had more than £3,000 of new equipment for classes this term.
The science savvy youngsters came second in the Young Engineers STEM Skills Challenge last year, winning £2,000 to spend on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) equipment.
The competition saw teams of teenagers presented with a box filled with equipment, including cardboard, straws and balloons, to build a balloon powered buggy which could travel a distance using energy from the balloon, based on Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
Dr Chris Jessop, head of science, said: “We have bought data logging equipment (DLE) and sensors for experiments using the prize money and a grant we obtained from the Parents and Friends Association.
“DLE is a way of digitally measuring various scientific variables to give precise and accurate data, which is what you’d expect to see in scientific industries.”
The equipment can be used to measure everything from electric discharge to concentration of gases in the atmosphere.
Dr Jessop added: “We want pupils to realise that the results that we get to prove hypotheses in class are not as accurate as those gained by professional companies.
“The equipment allows us to get much more advanced readings and allows students to understand the scientific research field in greater detail.
“This is about real life science.
“We try to deliver science in a fun exciting way and the children are enjoying using the equipment.”
Since the last year’s awards, the interest in STEM subjects- science, technology, engineering and maths- has remained high at the school and there is a huge uptake of students taking all three sciences at A Level.
The equipment is being used in classes for all high school and sixth form pupils at the mixed school for four- to 18-year-olds.
The team from the school, on Clifton Drive South, St Annes, competed against others from Kirkham Grammar, Millfield, Unity, Highfield and St George’s schools to build the most effective air-powered buggy.
Team Millfield were victorious, scooping the £10,000 first place prize.
Now schools are gearing up for the 2014 challenge, with the first heat to be held at Blackpool and The Fylde College’s Bispham campus on February 10.