Students Shine in Faraday Challenge at Penryn College

26 February 2019

17 Penryn College students experienced a day as real-life engineers in the school’s assembly hall earlier this month, as they designed, built and presented products as part of the Institute of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Faraday Challenge Day.

In association with the James Webb Space Telescope – which will be NASA’s primary astronomy observatory telescope from 2021 – Faraday Challenge Days aim to give young people an insight into the rewarding career paths in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects) via creative and problem-solving group work.

In Penryn College’s Kernewek Hall – as part of 176 Faraday Challenge Days taking place across the UK in 2018/19 – participants were divided into four teams – with three groups made up of Year 8 Penryn College students, and one team made up of Falmouth School pupils.

Each group produced a variety of fantastic products, and concluded the day by presenting their efforts in front of a panel of judges and their fellow participants.

Despite the high-quality products produced by all participants, only one team was able to hold the trophy aloft – and that team consisted of Penryn College students Nathan, Rowan, Danny, Julius, and Jake – who were named the winners of the competition. 

Speaking following the Challenge Day, IET Faraday Challenge Leader, Philip Hart, reflected on the participants’ performances. He said: “Each group of students were very creative, and the products they built had great quality and variation. They also displayed their ability to work as part of a successful team, while managing their time and expectations. 

“The eventual winners demonstrated consistency in all of the scoring categories, narrowly missing out on a spot in the National Final in Edinburgh. The overall score for all of the groups combined totalled at 74 – and the average is 68 – so that demonstrates the quality of the products and efforts of each team,” Philip concluded.

Focused: Penryn College pupil Oban helps construct his team’s device during the Faraday Challenge.

Mr Childs, Penryn College STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) Teacher, was part of the Faraday Challenge Day at the school, and expressed his delight in seeing the pupils excel.

“The participants learned so much about engineering, electronics, and, vitally, themselves during the Faraday Challenge Day,” said Mr Childs.

“With a very broad brief, the participants came up with an incredibly diverse set of projects, manufactured to a high standard, using technology and equipment they had never used before. Given time to express their creativity and learn for themselves, it’s amazing just how much young people can do.”

And Mr Childs also highlighted some exciting news regarding STEAM and the school curriculum.  

“These are exciting times at Penryn College, we are developing a STEAM curriculum to start next year, in which students will be learning ICT and Design Technology through a project-based learning approach.

“This approach mirrors the real-life projects we see in industry, and is aimed to dramatically improve the applied skills of students. We want to be sending students to college, university and the workplace with excellent qualifications, but also with an excellent skill set in being able to apply learned knowledge,” Mr Childs concluded.

For more information on Faraday Challenge Days, visit the specialised websites for secondary and primary schools.