Surrey pupils ‘bridge’ the learning gap

Seventy-two year 8 pupils from across Surrey have taken part in a bridge-building learning challenge at Collingwood College in Camberley led by Beard.

The pupils, aged 12-13, were taking part in educational charity SATRO’s Year 8 Construction Challenge which gives children an opportunity to bring their classroom learning to life while improving their functional Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills through hands-on experience with industry professionals.

The initiative also aims to create a fun yet realistic experience of careers in construction and engineering – two important fields which apply STEM subjects.

The students, working in groups of eight with specific project roles, were tasked with designing and building a 1.5 metre-span bridge using rolled-up pieces of paper for making poles, nuts and bolts, masking tape and string. Each team had to price up and purchase extra materials needed to deliver the project and work carefully and efficiently to create the most cost-effective structure.

At the end of the challenge each team gave a short presentation about their project before their bridges were tested with weights and the team with the most sturdy and cost-effective structure was presented with book vouchers, mugs and pens donated by our Beard Guildford office.

Schools taking part in the event were Collingwood College in Camberley, Sunbury Manor School in Sunbury-on-Thames, Woldingham School in Woldingham and St John the Baptist School in Woking.

“It’s been great to see the children’s creativity and teamwork produce some very well designed and thought out bridges,” says Stavroula Karavida, Beard assistant site manager. “These challenges are a great way of developing young people’s skills in problem-solving, team-working and leadership whetting but also stimulating their interest in construction and other STEM-related careers.”

The Year 8 Challenge at Collingwood College is the tenth SATRO event our firm has sponsored and will be followed by two similar challenges at Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate, and Christ’s College in Guildford.

Lucy Miguada, fundraising manager at SATRO, says: “We are so grateful to Beard for sponsoring this challenge. It is a wonderful opportunity to inspire the students about careers in engineering and allows them to put theoretical knowledge of engineering and physics into practice. The students all enjoy the event and I think the staff volunteers from Beard do almost as much!”




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