Elaine Maslin, 2nd July 2012
On your marks, get set . . . Build a drillship with a helipad. That was the challenge set to the north-east finalists of this year’s Junior Engineer for Britain K’Nex Challenge.
In a hive of activity at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom that is just what some 5,000 pupils from 110 schools across Aberdeen City and Shire did using K’Nex model kits.
It was the most to date that have taken part in the annual challenge organised by TechFest-SetPoint, supported by Wood Group and Talisman.
The final, which followed heats at participant schools with winners picked by volunteer engineering professionals, saw children having to work in pairs to plan, design and build their model drillship with helipad in just 40 minutes before presenting it to a panel of judges at the Beach Ballroom in the Granite City.
“Once they were given the go-ahead 110 plastic boxes were ripped open as the kids got stuck in,” said Wood Group spokeswoman Carolyn Smith. “They worked in almost total silence whilst constructing their models, with the judges monitoring and marking their progress. They took it extremely seriously and the speed at which they all worked was amazing.”
Coming up with the best design was Johan Padmos and Josh Annand from Logie Durno School. The runners-up were Alice Duncan and Magnus McIntosh from Gordon School.
Josh said: “The best part of the challenge was building the model. We had a really difficult time building the winch for the anchor in the time.
“I would think about becoming a professional engineer when I grow up. The K’Nex kits we won are really cool.”
The annual challenge aims to provide primary school pupils with an exciting introduction to the world of engineering and technology through challenging then to produce a specific design solution and then build it with K’Nex.
TechFest-SetPoint have been delivering the junior Engineer for Britain K’Nex Challenge since 1998.