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