Pupil power in boat building task

07 Jun 2013

4th QinetiQ School's Powerboat challenge takes place in Gosport with support from local MP

7 June 2013: Pupils from 16 schools from across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight took part in the ‘QinetiQ Schools’ Powerboat Challenge’ on 7 June at QinetiQ’s world-class ocean basin facility at Haslar, Gosport. The teams competed against each other using their own designed and built powerboats, with the winners receiving their prizes from Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport.

The ‘QinetiQ Schools’ Powerboat Challenge’ tasks teams of five pupils, aged between 12 and 15, to design, build and then race their own model powerboats, providing pupils with an exciting, practical experience and an understanding of the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) within the marine industry. The teams were regularly visited by QinetiQ naval architects for support and guidance throughout the design and build process.

The Challenge, now in its fourth year, tests the teams to apply their STEM skills to effectively turn a blank sheet of paper to a fully working example of marine engineering. At the start of the challenge, the teams were provided with a pack containing standard propulsion parts and design briefs. The youngsters and their teachers then worked as naval architects, balancing criteria including size, speed, weight and stability, whilst making the boats safe to operate and providing a stylish livery.

The teams presented their final designs to a panel of expert judges from QinetiQ, and the wider marine industry at the race day and Caroline Dinenage MP presented the winning team with prizes from QinetiQ and a number of sponsors including The Smallpeice Trust, The Royal Navy Submarine Museum, and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA).

Caroline Dinenage MP, said: “It was fantastic to attend QinetiQ’s 4th Schools Powerboat Challenge at their world class ocean basin facility in Gosport. The event provided great evidence of the importance of company's like QinetiQ in providing opportunities for children to really inspire interest in STEM subjects and possible careers in those areas for the future. By providing children with a fun, interactive challenge to build powerboats to race against other schools, they were able to learn valuable lessons in engineering, physics and mathematics, but also teamwork, endeavour and creative thinking. Hopefully we have now seen some of the next generation of naval architects and maritime engineers.”

Sarah Kenny, Managing Director, QinetiQ Maritime, said; “The Schools’ Powerboat Challenge is a flagship event in our STEM programme and encapsulates our vision of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. Youngsters get to meet role models, and become actively involved in an event where lessons in science and technology are key, particularly at a time when GSCE and A-Level options may be on the minds of many of the participants. We’re delighted that the challenge is going from strength to strength each year, with 16 schools, from a much wider geographical spread than before, taking part this year.”

Watch the link below to find out more about the Challenge and see the action from last year:

Notes for Editors

The schools involved in the QinetiQ Powerboat Challenge this year, include:

Hamble Community Sports College, Hamble, Eastleigh
Crofton School, Stubbington, Gosport
The Henry Court Community College, Fareham
Chamberlayne College for the Arts, Weston, Southampton
The Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester
Budmouth College, Weymouth
Beaminster School, Beaminster, West Dorset
Perins School, Alresford, Winchester
Bournemouth School
Calthorpe Park School, Fleet, Hampshire
Carisbrooke College, Newport, Isle of Wight
The Bourne Academy, Bournemouth
Bournemouth School for Girls
The Neville Lovett Community School, Fareham
Lord Wilson School, Sarisbury Green, Southampton

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Pupil power in boat building task