School News

The Annual ‘KNEX’ Challenge

Birkdale School Sixth Formers support Year 5 & 6 pupils from Ashdell Prep School

During National Science and Engineering Week in March, Ashdell Prep School, once again, hosted their own inter-school KNEX Challenge for Year 5 & 6 pupils supported by Design Technology Sixth formers from Birkdale School.

The four boys from Birkdale – Alex Hackett, Tanmoy Hossain, Will Turner and Ross Toward – teamed up with Ashdell pupils as they worked in groups to complete their challenge: ‘To design and build a non-motorised fairground ride’.

Pupils were split into four groups and given 2 hours to plan, develop and construct a fairground ride using KNEX pieces – absolutely no assembly instructions were allowed. At the end of the session, the groups presented their models to the whole school, explaining the mode of operation and giving a final evaluation, which included positive aspects about their design and a suggestion of an area for improvement.

The fairground ride designs included: ‘The Sensational Sailing Ship’, inspired by a swinging pirate ship, powered by a push & pull motion; ‘The Candy Floss’, operated by a crank designed to create a rotary motion; ‘The Marvellous Merry-Go-Round’, operated by rotation on the axle; and the ‘Wheel of Wonder’, influenced by a merry- go- round, spinning around a central pole.

Pupils from both schools thoroughly enjoyed this high quality learning experience; and it was a pleasure to see sixth formers supporting the younger children, working as a team, generating enthusiasm and inspiring them to come up with innovative, workable ideas.

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