Year 8 students designed and built models from junk that were capable of clearing up litter from a test-track. The Junkbots challenge was set by Dr Scott Turner from the School of Science and Technology at the University of Northampton. He supplied components such as electric motors, wheels and propellers, while the students supplied lots of enthusiasm and originality.
The gifted and talented students spent nearly five hours on the task before their machines were put to the test by having to collect items of litter from a test track. Some of the junkbots were remotely operated after the students wired up circuit boards and controllers.
Dr Turner said: ‘The design brief was to create a moving device that would clear up some rubbish, and, if they got through the first task then they had to tackle three lots of debris. It was all about designing and trying ideas out, seeing what worked and what didn’t work.
'The most impressive ones were those with separate control systems; they were remote controlled, wire controlled and the students wired up switches to turn motors on and off and move them. It was quite complex and I was really impressed.
'The students have done some very interesting things and had some very clever ideas which they have pulled together. It has been them leading the project, not me. They have done all the work.’
Teacher Mr Barrett said: ‘The students just got on with it and devised the models themselves. They experimented all the way through. It was three and a half lessons of having a go, coming across problems and then solving them themselves. If they got stuck we gave them a little push in the right direction. They have all learned a great deal and they were all fully engaged with the project, giving it their maximum effort.’