Robot Rumble June 2018

Robotics Rumble

Lauren Sanders 7O, writes:

On Friday 22nd June Stanborough’s new Robotics team visited MBDA in Stevenage to compete in the launch event for the annual Robot Rumble Competition.

We had a great time building our robot. When we arrived there was a presentation on the judging scheme, the build and the main event; it sounded so fun. After that we started to build our robot; there were technical challenges with the coding but we got through them. Then we started to properly build the robot. After careful planning we had finally designed the perfect robot, it was light but had a good centre of gravity, the friction and grip of the wheels worked well with the weight and height of the robot. We used an elastic band to organise the cables. There were lots of fiddly parts so we had to use the spanners and Allen keys.

We spent a lot of time getting the right wheels, eventually choosing the medium sized wheels with good friction levels so we could hit the balls into the goal at the end of the coned course (a World Cup theme, of course!). When it was finally time to have our first try at getting around the course it went well but we crashed into a few cones which deducted some seconds off our final time. After our first try we had lunch and got ready for our 2nd try, we also made a mini replica of the course to test on. On the second go we had almost no mistakes but just before we went to go to the track one of our wheels loosened so we had to do a quick repair. After the 2nd try we managed to beat our time and we scored all three goals and didn’t hit any cones. Our final time was 7 seconds, a great score! On the leader board we finished in 5th place, a really good place! Thank you to our amazing mentor, Daniel, we couldn’t have done it without you! It was a really fun day, mostly because we worked as a team and had an amazing time.

“It was a great experience, I enjoyed it all and had an amazing time.” Isabel Verlander (7O)

“I learnt about torque (engineering).” Harry Beale (8B)

“My favourite part was building the robot because it was exciting and we had to think outside the box.” Eliezer Lagman (7BM)

“I was so impressed with our new robotics team, they showed excellent communication and team working skills! I look forward to seeing how they do in the next two events.” Mr Benzid


Y12 stem June2018 5w

Arconic Stem Challenge

Joshua Wardle, 12O, writes,

On Thursday 14th June, two teams of five Year 12 students headed to Sherrardswood School to compete in the Arconic Challenge. The goal of the challenge was to design and conceptualise a plan to reduce carbon emissions in the UK by up to 40% by 2030. Over the course of the day, we had to write a Concept Paper outlining our idea, create a presentation and face questioning from the judges about our ideas. There was extra pressure to create a good presentation as the Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield, Barbara Fitzsimon, was watching!

Both teams created some exceptionally innovative ideas, including measuring CO2 emissions using air filters and taxing drivers based on this; using bioplastics for the chassis of the car and using electrolysis to turn CO2 emissions into a usable biofuel while the car was running! Both teams were eloquent and well-spoken in their ideas.

Before this main challenge, we also competed in an ‘icebreaker’ challenge – to design a flying car. Needless to say, the passengers in our vehicles probably wouldn’t have survived the trip! At the end of the day, the Onslow team won with their ‘P.O.D.S’ idea, although both Stanborough teams were commended for their effort. The trip made for an engaging day and I’d like to thank our hosts from Arconic for running the event.


Go4Set at Ocado May 2018 1

Go4SET at Ocado

Mrs K. Coldwell, KS5 and G&T Leader, Maths, writes:

Go4Set at Ocado May 2018 2Fifteen Year 8 and 9 students made the very short journey to Ocado’s head office in Hatfield on Monday to kick off a STEM project on the theme of Eco-Factories. The students formed themselves into three teams and after an introduction to Ocado, the Go4SET scheme and some key principles of project management, the teams set to work on a challenge to build a high structure capable of holding a significant weight out of art straws and masking tape. All three Stanborough teams took a creative and analytical approach to the task and came up with effective designs, but the team of Alan Del Ciampo 9O, Phoebe Gordon 9S, Ellie-Anne Hart 9A, Mia Walsh 9S and Izzy Wilkins 9H, built the structure which held the most weight of any in the room. Unfortunately, they narrowly missed winning the overall prize as another team had a taller structure.

After the building challenge, the serious business of the day continued with the introduction of the Ocado staff who would be mentoring the teams. After getting to know one another, the teams and mentors began brainstorming ideas for their Eco-Factories, considering what products the factories might be manufacturing and how they might do so sustainably. There was a short break for lunch and then the highlight of the day was a tour of the Ocado warehouse, a building the size of four football pitches spread over five floors, containing a complex network of conveyor belts and home to a combination of automated and human-driven processes. Students experienced the -22°C freezer area (although not for long), had the opportunity to manually bag the plastic totes used for collecting orders and then saw the multi-million-pound machine which Ocado developed to make the process more efficient. The Ocado team member responsible for the bagging area reminded students that their choices at school could either help them to prepare for a job like manual bagging or for a role as an engineer designing and improving the advanced machinery.
The project is now in the students’ hands. With the help of their mentors, they will generate and research ideas and then formulate a report, presentation and display stand to convey their ideas to others.

“It really was an amazing opportunity, and I really enjoyed both the activities and the tour.” Elitsa Ilieva 8A

IET Faraday Challenge

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Faraday Challenge

Miss R. Hooper, Curriculum Leader: Science, writes:

On Thursday 8th March, Stanborough was a host school of the IET Faraday Challenge. The Faraday Challenge is a national competition where teams of Year 8s from schools across the country compete to solve an Engineering problem. Unfortunately, the details of the challenge are currently a secret (other schools across the country are yet to participate and any clues may give them an advantage!) But what we can share is that we were joined by teams from Monk’s Walk School and Sherradswood. The groups across all schools did a fantastic job working in teams and utilising their STEM knowledge. We would like to congratulate the team from Sherrardswood who won the event on the day but would like to congratulate all teams for their hard work and creativity.

The event was sponsored by Arconic, an Engineering company in Welwyn who produce aerospace and defence parts. We were very fortunate to have three engineers from Arconic volunteer their time as STEM Ambassadors to support the teams and passing on their expertise and enthusiasm for engineering.

‘I enjoyed having the chance to do engineer’s work and work with successful engineers.’ Hanif Chowdhury, 8K

‘I enjoyed being able to work as a team and enjoyed putting our scientific minds together to accomplish great things.’ Laura Wells, 8K


DT Rotary Tournament March2018 4w

Rotary Technology Tournament

Mr M. Beevor, Design and Technology, writes:

The Design and Technology department took three teams to Onslow St Audrey’s School to participate in the annual Rotary Technology Tournament. Students in the teams were from Year 8, Year 9 and Year 13. The task set was to fire a plastic ball three metres vertically in a plastic cup by building a wooden frame and using only rubber bands for propulsion. They had to design a release system and present a design portfolio. The Year 9 and 13 students also had to incorporate a parachute into their design.

The Year 8 team worked quickly and had built and tested their design before any of the other 20 teams. Further testing resulted in a working design. Overall they came second in the competition, losing out on first place by two points. The Year 9 and Year 13 teams faced a more difficult task and both managed finished designs but lacked consistency when trying to deploy the parachute.

It was a very challenging day and all students worked well as a team and enjoyed the competitive experience.


Intermediate Maths Challenge Feb2018w

Intermediate Maths Challenge

Mrs K. Coldwell, KS5 and G&T Leader, Mathematics, writes:

We had a full house for the UK Mathematics Trust Intermediate Maths Challenge which took place on Thursday 2nd February and the results are now in.  Of the 60 students who took part, 27 earned certificates and two have qualified for follow-on rounds.

Behram Printer (11H) was Best in School, Best in Year 11, earned a Gold Certificate and qualified for the Pink Kangaroo follow-on round.

Sean Davies (10S) and Zackary Read (9H) were Best in Year for Years 9 and 10. Sean also earned a Gold certificate and qualified for the Pink Kangaroo follow-on round. Zackary earned a Silver certificate.

Silver certificates also go to Junayd Ullah (11A), Rory Satterley Hull (11O), Kono Washio (11K), Joshua Long (10H), Josephine Clayton (10K) and Jack Moylan (9O).

Matthew Turnbull (11K), Ganga Jayamohan (11S), Thomas Cranham (11O), Travis Ford (11H), Harry Cross (11S), Priya Desai (11S), Gracie Manning (11O), Allyna Farrell (11B), James Mann (10K), Daniel Green (10H), Jack Hamer (10K), Jonny Baynes (10H), Georgia Burgess (10H), Ellie-Anne Hart (9A), Louis Ross (9H), Annabel Dunstan (9A), Luca Vullo (9K) and Alexander Douglas (9A) all earned Bronze certificates.

Well done to all who took part!


STEM Affinity Water Challenge Dec2017 2

Affinity Water Challenge

Katie McClymont,10O, writes: 

STEM Affinity Water Challenge Dec2017 1On Tuesday 28th November, our class was met with a visionary lesson, courtesy of Affinity Water, that put our STEM skills to the test.

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.

Inaugral Penrose Lecture Nov2017 2w

Inaugral Penrose Lecture

Inaugral Penrose Lecture Nov2017 1wMrs K. Coldwell, KS5 and G&T Leader, Maths, writes:

After a long postponement due to Professor Hawking’s ill health, four Stanborough students were able to attend the Inaugural Penrose Lecture on Quantum Black Holes, given by Stephen Hawking at the Mathematical Institute at Oxford University during the October half-term. Tawsif Chowdhury, Hannah Imafidon, Christopher Illes-Wilbourn and Joseph Lowton, all in Year 12, spent over two hours travelling to Oxford to hear the one-hour talk but all agreed that the journey was more than worth it for this once in a lifetime experience. The opportunity to hear renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking speak live on his own work with Roger Penrose and more recent work with others was the main draw of the event. Students also walked over Penrose tiles at the entrance to the Mathematical Institute, only to hear the introduction of Professor Hawking’s lecture given by his colleague, Sir Roger Penrose, as they sat in the Andrew Wiles building, directly behind Sir Andrew Wiles himself! So two of the most famous living British mathematicians were also part of the package! Such was the inspiration of this event and others like it, that Joseph Lowton made his own way to the public lecture which Andrew Wiles gave on the 28th November at the Science Museum in London.

STEM Quadcopter 2017 3

STEM Update

Raytheon Quadcopter Regional Final

Alan Del Ciampo, Archie Jennings and Ptolemy Carnell, write:

On Friday 10th November, a group of eight Year 9 engineering students embarked a minibus to travel to the Raytheon Quadcopter STEM Challenge Regional Final in Harlow.

They had built their drones from a list of parts and instructions. They had to work as a team and use their engineering knowledge to construct it.

However, they had to decorate their drones too. The theme was WW1 and both teams had to pick an animal that helped in The Great War.

Team A picked a carrier pigeon. They vacuum formed a pigeon head and used the 3D printer to attach legs.

Team B picked a dog. They got inspiration from Sergeant Stubby (the first dog to get the rank of Sergeant) The dog was made from wooden cut outs which were velcroed to the drone.

After countless hours spent after school, preparing and building the drone, they needed to practice flying. This was done at school on the field – a softer landing on grass to avoid breaking parts before the final. They still managed to break numerous rotors and rotor guards.

On the day, both Quadcopters were tested thoroughly before flying and one needed a motor change. Two courses were attempted and both were still working well, despite a couple of heavy landings. More repairs were needed and duct tape was called for when spare rotor guards and legs ran out.

Both teams managed to keep flying until the end of the competition and valuable flying tips were learnt. A most enjoyable day and many thanks to Raytheon for the opportunity to build and fly a Quadcopter.


Miss R. Hooper, Curriculum Leader: Science, STEM Leader, writes:

On Friday 11th November, a group of A Level STEM students went to visit Roche to participate in their Generationext event. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company who research and produce medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases and diseases of the central nervous system. The aim of the visit was to get students to consider the applications of STEM A Levels in an industry that is at the forefront of research and development.

The day started with Dr Hannah Critchlow, a neuroscientist from Cambridge University ‘Demystifying the Human Brain’ by explaining how our 1.5kg mass of brain tissue produces our unique view of the world.

The students then had two hours of workshops where they saw and had first-hand experience of the STEM in real world contexts, from using virtual reality headsets to learning whether it is possible to communicate with aliens! Finally, the day was rounded-off with a presentation from Professor Shafi Ahmed, a cancer surgeon at The Royal London and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals. He explained the developments of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in training surgeons around the world to make safe surgery affordable and accessible for all.

‘The visit was very interesting as it showed the various aspects of the STEM industry and how they could be married together for a useful purpose.’ Isaac Cheng

‘I enjoyed listening to Dr. Hannah Critchlow and Professor Shafi Ahmed as they inspired me with their strong determination and contributions to science and medical research in order to help millions of people across the globe.’ Hamzah Hussain

‘The whole day made me more interested in how technology can be used in science and how, in the future, it will play a huge role in everyday jobs.’ Jessica Elsley

MBDA 2 Nov2017 2

Engineer for a Day

Miss C Burnham, Curriculum Leader: Design and Technology, writes:

MBDA 1 Nov2017Last Friday I went to MBDA in Stevenage with six Year 8 girls to take part in a new event, “Engineer for a Day”. The event was predominantly female-focused, with the idea of giving girls an opportunity to have a go at being an engineer for day and to work alongside the female MBDA engineers.

The girls were given lots of information about MBDA as a company; what they do, what it is like to work for them and the different routes into engineering as a career. During lunch time they were able to talk to female engineers, all at different stages in their careers, some who were on apprenticeships and others who had worked for many years in various different roles.

The main focus of the day was taking part in a real life engineering challenge where the girls had to design, build and test a structure which could transport tomatoes for the farmers in Nepal, where living on the mountainside and getting them to the market involves a long, dangerous walk down the mountain side and over a river, at the end of which the tomatoes may well be a bit squashed! The girls did a fantastic job at building and presenting their rope pulley system to transport the tomatoes, none of which were squashed when they got to the bottom!

The day was excellent! It was great for the girls to have the freedom to make their own design decisions and build their own design, whilst having the great support from MBDA engineers, who worked with them for the whole day.

There was no competitive element to the day but well done to Libby Gilbank, Zainab Umarah, Chloe Emerick, Holly Clayton, Chloe Kunjasic and Emma Hudson for being awarded a CREST Discovery award and being fantastic engineers!