Young engineering stars reach finals

TRIMLEY: Experts say maths and science are a real turn-off for many students today.

TRIMLEY: Experts say maths and science are a real turn-off for many students today.

But youngsters at one Suffolk school just love to learn what makes things work - and to use their talents to overcome challenges, solve problems and create new inventions.

The Young Engineers group at Trimley St Martin Primary is renowned for its expertise, and the latest crop of children at the after-school club are following in the footsteps of their predecessors.

The group won the top award at the regional heats of an international research and robotics competition - and next month will be heading off to the national finals.

Two years ago, the Young Engineers won the national championship and then had a trip of a lifetime to Atlanta, USA, for the world finals.

Derek Edwards, coach and mentor to the group, known as the TSM Roboteam, said everyone was thrilled to win the FIRST Lego League Challenge heat at Duxford Airspace Museum.

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“The teams had to present research work based upon the theme of travel and safety, and also design and programme a sophisticated Lego robot to undertake a series of complex tabletop missions,” he said.

“They were also judged on their technical knowledge and team working.

“Now the team goes on to the UK and Ireland National Finals to be held at Loughborough University in late January.

“There, they hope to repeat the success of our team from two years ago.”

Some 10,000 teams from around the world are taking part in the competition, each spending hours of painstaking research, programming and testing their models created for each challenge.

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FASTFACTS: TSM Roboteam

The Young Engineers club at Trimley St Martin Primary was formed to help youngsters develop an interest in mechanical, structural, electrical and electronic engineering, and extend their expertise and knowledge beyond normal schoolwork.

Its activities are designed to encourage teamwork and individual contribution, and sessions are practical, fun and sometimes very energetic.

The children enjoy plenty of hands-on experiments and games based on engineering principles, as well as taking part in short and longer term engineering challenges and projects.

Engineering is time-consuming - for every 20 seconds of robot time, it takes about three hours of designing, programming and testing to get it to work properly.