Six Year 8 pupils from Derby Grammar School are celebrating having won the IET Faraday Challenge Day which took place on Friday 14 June at the University of Derby.

The IET Faraday Challenge days are held at schools and venues across the UK. They give pupils the opportunity to research, design and make solutions to tough engineering problems. Pitted against five other teams the challenge was set around creating something that could be used for the James Webb Space Telescope either here on Earth or in space.

The James Webb Telescope is a large, space-based observatory which will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope. It launches in 2021 and will enable us to look at things we’ve never seen before.

Throughout the day they worked together to design and create a prototype that would be used to aid the production of the telescope. After some initial discussion they decided that they would create a ‘Solar Shield’.

Andreas Serghi was part of the team. He said: “Our product was made to keep the delicate components and mechanical parts of the telescope cool, and sheltered from the sun’s heat. This meant that the telescope could function properly when launched into space.

To make our shield renewable we designed it by using solar panels to collect energy from the sun instead of batteries and lots of mechanically engineered parts. Based around a central beam the solar panel collected the energy and activated the shield.”

Sajid Oleolo added: “We quickly prioritised what we needed to do and when we needed to do it. Working effectively, we put these ideas into play and managed to pick up the trophy for the school after presenting our prototype to the judge and organiser. Each of us also received a gift voucher for winning.”

Mr Lakritz accompanied the team and said: “The Challenge is all about letting the boys be creative and use their own problem-solving skills to explore their capabilities as engineers.

It’s great for them to take part in something like this to stretch them, and the competition element always brings out the best!”