Yesterday, as part of my work with the Widening Participation Team, I spent the day helping teach year 7s from Shoreham Academy how to build ant-weight robots as part of their Raising Aspirations Programme. The idea of this project is to start discussing the idea of university with children from a young age by getting them to participate in a variety of activities and talk about university in particular as one option for their future.
A group of year 7s came up to visit Falmer campus yesterday and took part in a sports science activity and an engineering activity (which is the one I was involved in). I worked alongside two STEM ambassadors who provided all the materials and then got stuck in with the kids to design, build and ultimately compete with their robots. The teams had to enter a race, a game of football and a fight to the death with their robots. It was fantastic!
It was a pretty full on day but we built some impressive robots with just cardboard, skewers and straws (as well as the remote control, wheels and receiver). It was also brilliant to see the kids getting so excited, especially as this is a project that 2nd year students actually do at university (though with ‘proper’ materials). We all learnt a fair bit about robotics and designs and how the same materials could be adapted to suit different challenges.