Engineering Challenge at the Bovington Tank Museum

On Tuesday 9th July, 10 Computer Science students from The Purbeck School, set forth on their visit to The Tank Museum at Bovington, to take part in an engineering challenge, which was organised in partnership with Bournemouth University.  We were in competition with All Saints (Weymouth) and Poole High (Poole).

Initially the students, in their teams of 5, were given a brief but fascinating tour of the tank museum, by our tour guides Tom and Anne.  They explained in detail the various design and engineering considerations regarding some of the tanks, which the students listened intently to, as this would form some of the inspiration behind their own design for their Lego Mindstorms Tank.

Students were then shown the man-made obstacle course that their own design of tanks, would be expected to manoeuvre around.  It was impressed upon all students that points would be heavily awarded for their design portfolio, as well as for the communication as a team.  Their need to be versatile and to adapt their design, in order to provide solutions to problems was also vital.

Students assigned themselves to team roles: Designer, builder, buyer, manager and programmer, with each understanding what their role entailed.  They initially communicated their ideas in their groups, in order to come up with an effective solution.  They were given a brief to spend under £500 in the ‘shop’, to purchase parts for their tank.

Students came under increasing pressure to create a working tank that would be able to complete the assault course.  There was a bit of a ‘wobble’ with the Whippet team, but with resilience, they dug in and managed to create a working tank.  The Sherman team completed the course in 2 mins 20 secs, but this wasn’t quite quick enough, and so we lost by 1 point to All Saints, who managed to complete the course 18 secs quicker.

The competition itself proved a really good challenge, as well as a test of some really good transferable skills.

Many thanks to the Tank Museum and their hosts Claire, Tom and Anne for hosting the event and for some insightful information about the tank.  Also, thanks to Bournemouth University for organising the event and to the Stem Ambassadors for supporting our students.

Mrs Lay
Head of Computing

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