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Royal Institution Masterclasses 2013

July 2013

Pupils from local schools recently took part in a series of Royal Institution Engineering Masterclasses, hosted and delivered by staff and students from WMG and other Science departments at the University of Warwick. The end of the series concluded with an official presentation and awards ceremony for the children, attended by parents and teachers, to mark their participation in the series.

Twenty Year 9 students from several local schools attended the regular Saturday morning masterclasses over a period of 6 weeks. The sessions were designed to spark their interest in a wide variety of engineering paths. Topics covered over the series included programming robots, understanding waves, intelligent vehicles and 3D printing.

At the awards ceremony Diane Crann from the Royal Institution gave a brief presentation of the aims of the masterclasses, and Bob Shanks, Chairman of the Imagineering Foundation spoke about the role of engineering in society. Bob then awarded students their certificates.

Engineering Masterclasses were recently initiated by the Royal Institution in order to introduce Year 9 pupils to engineering through practical hands-on experience alongside practising engineers. Through the sessions, the students are encouraged to learn about the latest engineering applications and think about the possibilities for the future.

The masterclasses, which took place on the University of Warwick campus during June, were organised by staff from WMG and also involved student ambassadors Sophie Cox and Mosh Ahtamad, who supported the pupils throughout the 6 week programme and helped ensure everything ran smoothly.

Good feedback was received from the students who took part, which demonstrated that the programme had achieved its aims. Students particularly commented on the satisfaction of seeing the results of the hard work they put into planning tasks, the enjoyment of working together as a team and understanding the science behind the way things work.

The 20 participating students from Year 9 (age 13/14) were nominated for the masterclasses by their schools. Schools from the Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull area took part including Blue Coat, Cardinal Newman, Stoke Park, Caludon Castle, Coundon Court, Hartshill, Kenilworth, North Leamington and Heart of England.

The masterclasses:

  • The Robot Garden - Dr Claire Rocks (Computer Science)
  • Coastal Engineering: Dealing with waves at our coastline - Dr Jonathan Pearson (Engineering)
  • The Power of Process - Mairi Macintyre (WMG)
  • Intelligent Vehicles - Mark Amor-Segan, Gunwant Dhaydalla, Anmoal Thethi, Ali Ahmad (WMG)
  • Will 3D printing turn you into a designer? Dr Simon Leigh (Engineering)
  • Making an impact with recycling! - Dr Ben Wood, Dr James Meredith (WMG)