Two teams of Year 5 and 6 pupils from Derby Grammar School took part in the Design Challenge this weekend at Ripley Junior School, with one of them scooping the Most Innovative Design award.

Supported by Rolls-Royce, IMechE and Derbyshire STEMNET, the aim of the competition is to show young people that engineering is fun, and to introduce them to engineers from local companies, as well as Rolls-Royce, so that they can find out what they do.

This years’ activity was to design and construct a crane, with each team member taking on a specific responsibility. The crane had to be able to move shipping containers from the dockside in a port to a stack from which they could be collected by a train or lorry. It also had to be able to move the containers, rotate them through 90 degrees. Each team was assigned an engineer who acted as the customer.

Both teams worked through the preliminary specification with Mr Lakritz, Head of Design and Technology at Derby Grammar School. They discussed ideas and concepts which would help them with their construction on competition date. The exact specification is not given to the teams until the morning of the competition.

Teo is in Year 5 and was part of the team that won the Most Innovative Design completion. He said: I really enjoyed the competition. I’ve not done anything as big as this before, in terms of entering a competition like this and designing a crane.

It was great to interact with the materials, to work as a team, and to learn about how it is in the real world. I was so proud that we won the award for design.”

Mrs Sly, Head of Junior School, attended the competition along with Mr Lakritz. She said: “I was so proud of our two teams. As soon as they got the specification they settled down immediately to work, discussing their concepts and ideas. There were alot of teams there and it was quite competitive, so to come away with the award for most innovative design is really special.”