On Friday 26 February a group of Year 8 pupils attended a ‘Dragonfly Day’ held at the University of Leeds. The event was delivered by West Yorkshire STEM Ambassadors and supported by the RAF Youth Engagement Team.
Aimed at female students with an interest in studying the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, it was specifically organised to help them understand the learning pathways and vast array of possible career options, particularly in the area of Engineering.
The group listened to a presentation from representatives from the RAF Youth Engagement Team who looked at challenging existing gender stereotyping associated with the profession and presented the possible career options available within the RAF.
As well as increasing pupils’ interest and attainment in the STEM subjects, the day was designed to encourage problem-solving and the completion of challenges within a given time, and to improve communication and team-working skills.
As such, pupils were then split into groups for a team challenge to consider ‘how bio mimicry in nature could be used to engineer the future’. They were tasked with designing a sustainable solution to a human challenge by looking to nature for inspiration: the core idea being that nature has already solved many of the problems humans are currently grappling with.
The Year 8 pupils then worked as a team to develop their ideas and present these to a judging panel of engineers:
Aleeza Ahmed and Aminah Hussain presented a stingray submarine to be used for deep sea exploration.
Hafsah Bhatti, Haarisa Mahmood, Tanatswa Makore, Tameen Hussain and Jannat Hussain presented the ‘Dillo’ suit which took the strength of an Armadillo shell to be used to protect soldiers on the front-line.
A further group consisting of Uzma Parveen, Qurra-tul-ain-Javaid, Sumaiyha Shah, Mah-E-Noor Shazhadi and Zara Abbas designed a renewable wind turbine.
The wind turbine design particularly impressed the RAF judges who thought the design was the most stable and well engineered and hence awarded the team second place overall.
The day culminated with a tour of the university campus with the opportunity to speak to current undergraduate students about their experiences and career plans and to learn more about the many opportunities available at the university.
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