Skills for Industry – STEM (Cars of the Future)

During the last 6 weeks of the Summer Term several of our students from across the KS3 age-range have worked on an exciting new design and technology STEM project which considered what the car of the future will be like. The project was supported by the Design and Technology Association (DATA) and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). It provided students with the opportunity to investigate the application for microprocessors within cars of the future and provided them with the skills to make use of programmable control. As part of the DATA’s Skills for Industry programme, it also gave young people an insight into working in industry and specifically the car industry.
In response to this challenge, students first had to consider what aspect(s) of cars would benefit from being controlled by a micro-processor (for this they would use the ‘Crumble’ programmable micro-controller, manufactured by Mindsets (UK) Ltd https://mindsetsonline.co.uk/ ). Ideas included integral roof boxes which could be expanded / collapsed as required and Car-to-car communications which might respond to each other e.g. if they approached with full-beam headlights, to automatically switch the lights to ‘dipped’. After discussion of all the possibilities the students settled on the challenge to create a boot-space storage device which uses a vacuum bag to securely hold the contents of the boot and prevent them from falling / rolling around and breaking.
Students planned the work and designed and developed several prototypes of the storage system, which included the use of 3D printing. They also developed the program code which would operate the system. All work was documented to show the record of the student’s progression.
On Monday 16th July, five students selected by the group, attended Stratford High School to display their control solution to representatives from DATA and the other schools taking part. James and Matthew Barrett, Atom Gill, Laurence Barnes and Ellie Bonny gave a detailed presentation of their work and demonstrated their prototype solution.
The students spoke clearly and confidently – a testament to the School’s Public Speaking programme – showing good knowledge and understanding of their product.
Overall the presentation evening was a great success and all students felt they’d achieved a great deal from the whole range of activities undertaken. The other members of the design teams were: Oscar Cooper; Lauren Aubrey; Harrison Stone; Albie Murtagh; Jedrezj Jakielski; Alex Gillitt and Sam Howard. Congratulations to all, for a good job, well done.