The Tank Museum Engineering Challenge sees teams of secondary students from Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire competing to engineer, build and demonstrate miniature Lego tanks at The Tank Museum, based in Bovington, Dorset, using computer programming and scenery maps built by Bournemouth University and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The initiative, now in its fourth year, saw local school pupils from Harewood College, Avonbourne College, Carter Community School, Queen Elizabeth’s School among others navigate their way around a series of challenging environments, from forest scenes, to deserts and even an arched apex bridge.
Claire Cooper, Education Officer at The Tank Museum, said: “Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, we were able to offer two days of the Challenge this year. The event has been running for five years, since 2014, and every year it’s just gotten bigger and bigger. We’ve got new obstacles built for us by Bournemouth University this year and they’re absolutely fantastic; the children have had lots of fun using them.”
She added: “We really get the children to think about how they are going to work as a team, whether building, designing, or driving, just like the Tank Corps with each tank crew having their own individual thing to do.”Matthew Robinson, year ten student at Lytchett Minster School and Centurion team member, said: “It’s been very fun, I’m into engineering and I quite like programming and building stuff. I quite like tanks, what’s not to like, they’re tanks!”
He added: “We focused on the tracks, because as soon as you have the tracks, these are the most important part for this challenge – we needed grip and for it not to topple over. After that, we focused on the power, but then as soon as we got everything onto the buggy, it was a bit top heavy so we had to add a training wheel on the back!”
Over the course of four years, the annual event has grown from a single school initiative with Harewood College, to that of a multi-day competition involving more than ten schools across the region with a team of BU student ambassadors mentoring teams as they work on their designs.
On the first day, the winning teams were Team Chieftain from Holyrood Academy, Team Centurion from Holyrood Academy with runners up Avonbourne College and Carter Community School. Closing the event were winning teams Team Chieftain from Lytchett Minster School, Team Grant from The Burgate School & Sixth Form and Team Whippet from Trafalgar School at Downton.
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Schools are invited to contact BU’s outreach team at [email protected] or call on 01202 963999 for more information about how to get involved.