Bright sparks compete in Torness challenge

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CHILDREN from six schools in Berwickshire and East Lothian battled it out on Monday to see which team could generate the most electricity, in a competition organised by EDF Energy and Babcock International Group.

Their mission was to win this year’s Schools Engineering Challenge 2011 and win their school a share of a cash prize.

Oscar the friendly robot launched the challenge in January, at Innerwick Primary School, one of six primary schools taking part. The other schools were East Linton, West Barns, Dunbar, Stenton and Coldingham Primary Schools. Each school received £250 just for patricipating and further cash prizes were on offer.

The aim of the competition was to test the children’s engineering skills and fire their interest in science.

Since January, they have been working as part of a team, building project management skills and learning about their environment. EDF Energy staff at Torness have been acting as mentors and have been providing guidance and assistance to the children.

The challenge is about low-carbon and renewable energy and the children have used the last ten weeks to build a hydro-unit using a Pelton Wheel which can generate electricity and light.

During Monday’s finals, the winning groups were judged and the overall winning team was from Innerwick. They loifted the £300 top prize to take back to their school. Runners-up, receiving £200, were Coldingham amnd third, receiving £100, were Dunbar.

Spot prizes of £50 were awarded to West Barns, East Linton and Stenton primary schools and the Safety poster prize (£100) went to West Barns Primary. Both Torness and Babcock sponsored the prizes.

Selvin Roberts, EDF Energy technical and safety manager at Torness, said: “The engineering challenge is a fantastic way to teach young children how different forms of energy are sourced and generated, and encourages them to look at the environment in which they live, in a different way. We are delighted to have supported this year’s challenge and have enjoyed regular contact with the schools as the children work their way through the tasks.”

Malcolm Freeman, of Babcock International Group, said: “We are pleased to support the EDF Energy/ Torness power station 2011 Schools Engineering Challenge as it promotes safety and engineering to the school children.

“The engineering challenge forms part of our continued support to our major customers in the energy market, with the aim of encouraging children to follow a career in engineering.”