24 Jun The Renewable Energy Challenge Day @ Whitley Academy
Written by Alesha – Year 9 student reporter
On the 15th of June 2021, year 9 had a full day full of activities for the renewable energy project hosted by The Small Piece Trust through a MS Teams meeting.
This was an exciting event for us students to broaden and apply our knowledge of circuits and electricity, forces, renewable energy, and structures. In teams we spent the day designing and building a wind turbine structure to supply electrical energy to a small village.
To begin the day, we were set an ice breaker to play top trumps in our teams about renewable and non-renewable energy. It was a great game to warm up our brains and revise previous learning. Soon enough it was time for our teams to choose roles to organise the project and make sure everyone is involved and working to their best ability.
The team roles were:
– a Customer Solutions (where we are responsible for considering the community impact)
– a Project Manager (who is responsible for ensuring all departments are working together)
– an Investment Engineer responsible for sustainability and safety of the project
– a Power System engineer for technical aspects of the project
– an Operational Engineer responsible for the construction of the project and lastly:
– the Financial Representative responsible for the overall costs of the project and equipment we need. This part of the day made us realise how the learning we do every day in our Science lessons is applied in the real world and how important everyone’s role is.
Amidst lots of talking around us, we soon moved onto “the Challenge”; our objective was to design and build a system that will supply energy to a village. We had to make sure it was using renewable energy and then we had to build the network to transmit this energy across a landscape to the target homes.
The groups huddled together and planned out how we would make this work and the time and costs needed. After the initial design stage for the construction, we had a look through the available resources. This is when we as a team had to decide a budget and throughout the day compare the costs to see if we met our original budget. We can all agree this was a great way to spend the day and apply all our learning.
As the day progressed, we got straight to work constructing our own wind turbines using solar cells, gear cogs, circuits, cardboard and different types of wood and craft materials.
As a team we listened to each other’s idea and followed the agreed instructions to build the working and well-designed structures. Even though it was important the structures were well-made and working we had to think about the community impacts and if this turbine would disturb the farm owners and village civilians. We must make sure that the locals were kept informed and updated on this large build impacting their lives. This was harder than it sounded, and everyone’s collaboration was needed for the teams to succeed.
The whole day was a great way to learn our best skills and apply them in different ways. We had to make sure teamwork and everyone’s involvement was key in order to achieve the best results. This makes me remember a famous quote on teamwork:
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson
Soon enough it was time to be assessed on our constructions. We were to be judged on the:
Stability, can our network withstand weather and maintenance?
Costs, did we manage to keep the cost and waste low?
Designs, were our power systems disruptive to the scenery?
Power, how much electrical energy is produced and transmitted to the homes?
And of course, the teamwork, did we all collaborate well?
In the last lesson of the day, time was spent presenting our projects and describing the challenges we experienced over the day to the class. We all gave feedback to each other and made sure that we all did the best we could.
After the questions and nerve-wracking presenting, Mr Foode judged our builds and chose the winning team. I completely agree with his judging as we could all agree that the winning team had the best designed and well working renewable power system.
This was a fun and tiring experience for all of us and we were overjoyed to have been given this enjoyable opportunity to apply ourselves to the real world.
Thank you to all the staff and The Small Piece trust for getting us involved in this project hopefully we get more like this in the future.
Thank You to you for reading this blog.
I’ll leave you with the advice to always work hard even in subjects you may not particularly enjoy as it will always help you in the future and you’ll never know what opportunities and projects you get the chance to experience in your life! Have a great day 🙂