Katie McClymont,10O, writes:
Following an assembly held by Affinity Water on how their water infrastructure functions and makes use of STEM, we were introduced to our lesson by an Affinity Water representative.
On each desk was a large box, which contained all the parts necessary to complete the activity, and a large map. The activity was for each group to construct their own 3D water network system on the large 2D map, using the equipment supplied. The aim was to ensure the water network allocated water to each customer stated on the map, but also complied to the rules set such as only crossing a railway or river via a bridge.
The equipment granted was as follows: six containers (customers), one water tower container, one height-adjustable platform, 40 sections of long pipe, 15 sections of short pipe, 30 2-way-in-line connectors, 10 2-way 90° connectors, 10 3-way T connectors and an additional A3 map for planning.
As soon as the explanation was over, we had to immediately get to work in order to finish before the end of the 20 minute time limit.
Without a doubt, there was a wave of frantic effort throughout the class as everybody hastily joined together pieces of pipe and connectors. The activity certainly required a lot of social skills, like teamwork, as well as STEM skills, like estimating how much water pressure to set. The restrictions made on not crossing various areas also proved to be frustrating for some.
It was not long before the time was up and our water networks were up for judgement. Two groups were chosen to be judged before the end of the lesson, and had water poured into their water network to test if it really worked. All the spectators had the duty of being judges, and it was fair to say there was some degree of competitive bias. Luckily both groups successfully transported water through their system in a short amount of time.
In summary, we gained experience in industrial-style practical science: a valuable lesson for those aspiring to work in the STEM career sector.