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Tech competition

A Technology Competition That Fosters Team Spirit

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From engineering a miniature car and designing a pit display to putting teamwork into practice, schoolchildren competing in “4×4 in Schools” learn a lesson for life.

School and university student competitions perform an extremely valuable function, offering young people practical insights into lots of different areas – not to mention a strong sense of team spirit. The latter is a top priority for the All4One racing team, with its name – the famous motto of the three musketeers – sending out a clear message. This six-strong team from Grootmoor Grammar School is composed of pupils from different year groups. The international 4×4 in Schools Technology Challenge explicitly promotes cooperation across different disciplines. Participants are tasked with designing, building and testing their own miniature radio-controlled four-wheel drive vehicle, as well as navigating it through an obstacle course. In addition to this, the teams are also scored on a presentation they must give. The members of All4One completed both tasks so well they were invited to the world finals in England this April. Accompanying them on their travels was a stylish pit display built using Profile Tube System D30 from item.

Perfect collaboration for the 4×4 in Schools Technology Challenge

It didn’t take the team members long to come up with a general idea of what their pit display could look like. The real challenge for these youngsters was how to put their idea into practice and engineer a display that was both stable and looked good. This is where item was able to lend a hand as a proud sponsor of the team. The All4One team worked with staff from the item branch in Hamburg to devise a concept for creating their pit display. “The next step was to set about designing it all using a CAD program. Thanks to Profile Tube System D30, we then had a concrete idea of how we could put our design into practice,” says Pauline, who took on the role of graphic designer in the team.

After being introduced to the item Engineeringtool, the budding engineers were able to refine their design even further, with item experts on hand the whole time to offer support and advice. Pauline is impressed by the features of the Lean Production Building Kit System: “A key advantage of the profiles is that it doesn’t take long to build your construction with them. After all, we only had two hours to set up the display at the event – which would have been a tall order without the Profile Tubes.” In any case, all their hard work more than paid off, with the team taking home not one, but two awards. Firstly, All4One beat off every single competitor in the Portfolio and Pit Display category. Numerous criteria are taken into account in this category, with the teams scored on how they present their prototype and sponsors, and on the design of the pit display itself. On top of that, the dedicated pupils from Hamburg also bagged an award for the best social media presence.

Team spirit and lots of encouragement

When it came to the actual world finals, All4One encountered the proverbial blessing in disguise. Sadly, the team’s miniature car didn’t survive the journey from Hamburg completely unscathed, arriving in England with damage to the electronics. Seeing as the car features numerous soldered joints, this was probably caused by a small short-circuit. This technical problem persisted throughout the entire event and the pupils were unable to resolve it completely. In the end, a back-up vehicle had to step in. But, as Pauline emphasises, what really mattered was something completely different: “This challenging situation brought our team even closer together. The way the other teams reacted was great, too. Everyone tried to support us and stopped by to ask whether they could help us somehow.” At the end of the day, competitions like these are about bringing people together.

To read this story on item’s blog site, where you can subscribe to receive all the latest updates on Women in STEM, click here.

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