We welcomed back Richard Park from Anglian Water to work with students in Years 7 & 8. The two sessions centred on the ‘Water Supply Challenge’. This a creative way for our students to enhance their team work skills whilst challenging them to design, build and test a water supply network. This STEM activity simulates a real life engineering project with the aim being to complete a fully functioning water network to ‘supply’ customers with water. The students needed to ensure a satisfactory flow from tower to tap whilst being mindful of the land use where their pipes would run, paying particular attention to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). At the end of the exercise, real water must flow to all Anglian Water customers which included an Eco town, farm, hospital, factory and, of course, a school.
Excellent team work, planning, effective communication and problem solving was the order of the day. Teams were set a budget of £12,000 and with this they had to purchase suitable pipe lengths, a range of connectors and then ensure that any land purchases and required engineering did not push them over budget. We quickly learnt who the best planners, accountants and problem solvers were and as teachers it was fantastic to observe our students demonstrating a range of key skills and superb synergy.
At the end of the planning and constructing phase the students then had to test their pipelines to ensure that there were no leaks and that every site received the required water. Some teams were more successful than others but we were delighted that there was no escaping water in anyone’s network, an excellent achievement in itself! Every site received varying amounts of water and on occasion near flooding was just averted thanks to eagle eyed watching students.
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