Around 90 pupils from the region were invited to be scientists at the Cheshire Science and Technology Challenge Day at the university’s Thornton Science Park.
The event was aimed at raising awareness among Years 8 and 9 school children about STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and encouraging them to consider studying them further.
It allowed the youngsters to get involved in practical activities including robotics, vehicle building and racing, bridge building and E-FIT, using police facial recognition software.
Event organiser Angela Lupton, the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s STEM co-ordinator said: “We know from previous experience that many of the children who take part in our Challenge Days are more likely to consider studying STEM subjects at college or university as a direct result of the event.”
Each activity was designed to increase pupils’ awareness of the application of science and develop the skills needed in the workplace. For example, for the E-FIT Challenge, the pupils ‘witnessed’ a simulated crime being committed, then used the E-FIT software, which is used by the majority of the UK’s police forces, to construct a computer image of the thief. The pupils considered the problems associated with memory and facial recognition, and marks were awarded for planning, team-work and the finished product.
For the Vehicle Challenge, the teams designed and built an electric vehicle from kit pieces, looking at power transmission and the effect gears and pulleys have on speed and rotational force – before the teams raced their vehicles against each other.
Angela said: “It’s a great, fun way to inspire young people by showing them what ‘real’ engineers and scientists do, through practical, problem-solving activities.”
The Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs MBE presented prizes to each winning team.