Terex Trucks supports young engineers at school’s robotics competition

engineers with pupils

The team at Terex Trucks have been working in partnership with students from Brannock High School on a robotics project. Terex Trucks decided to embark on this project with the school and four local primary schools to encourage interest within Science, Technologies, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. Brannock High utilised the project as a way to prepare for their participation in the VEX Robotics Competition next year.

The VEX Robotics competition is hosted by The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation. Their competitions bring STEM skills to life by tasking teams of students with designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge.

On the 16th of April, Brannock students from their robotics club visited the four feeder primary schools who would go on to support one of the four robots the students from Brannock were building. Each feeder primary school named and championed their robot.

The four local primary schools that each supported a robot were Holytown Primary School, Keir Hardie Memorial Primary School, New Stevenston Primary School and Newarthill Primary School.

Engineers from the Motherwell facility, Ward Telfer, Stephen Drum, Ross Kerr and Robert Beveridge, all joined the students and their robots on their visits to the primary schools. They then acted as judges on the day of the competition.

The students found Ross’ pointers on organisation, the delegation of roles and responsibilities and always expecting the unexpected extremely useful.

This was the first year the school had started a robotics club. Whilst they were not in an official VEX Robotics competition, pupils faced the ultimate test. As a challenge, pupils created a ‘maze’ that had various tasks throughout including navigating round cones and manoeuvring empty water bottles off ledges and onto different levels.

One week before the event, Ross Kerr stated, “They’ve now made robots which will be fit for purpose and do not have any extras that will not actually benefit them during their challenge.”

“They were also able to demonstrate to me the programming skills they have learned and show me the software, which they use to write the programmes for the robots.”

“We also had a discussion as to how that can be extrapolated across to our own products here at our facility in Motherwell. While the machines are very mechanically minded, they would never achieve what they do without the blend of mechanical and electrical attributes.”

robo comp

The competition took place on the 14 May. The Robotics Club students from Brannock High competed against each other in their four teams. The pupils competed in events that they had developed and the P7s supported and completed tasks in relation to engineering the robots.

The Motherwell team provided model trucks for the winning robot team. The winning Robot was Wall-E, named and championed by Newarthill Primary.

The winning robotic pupils on the day were Reece Farren and Thomas Stafford, both from S3. Reece received a Rigid Dump Truck model whilst Thomas got an Articulated Hauler model. Andersen Graham and Kyle Jones, both from S4, worked incredibly hard during their busy exam timetable to make the event possible. Kyle stated that the event was “stressful but very rewarding.”

The pressure and fun of it all mixed for the students left Anderson laughing about his robot malfunctioning during the competition.

He joked," I can't believe my wheels started to work after the event!"

After receiving a model truck for winning, Reece Farren beamed: “I’m so glad we won, the truck is great.”

His teammate added that the “crowd were ecstatic,” and said, “It was like robot wars minus the robo violence. Great!”

The pupils also impressed the company’s engineers on the day. Ward Telfer said, “The fact that all were competitive on the day really highlighted their enthusiasm and commitment to the project."

After the event, Robert Colquhoun stated:” The support of the company in this activity and many other aspects of our enhanced curricular work has been outstanding.”

He added, “…Our School Improvement Agenda has been firmly supported by the partnership activities provided with the Motherwell company. This work is innovative, creative and effective. We appreciate the efforts of all involved and look forward to further enhancing this valuable partnership in future."

As a construction company with many engineering different roles, Terex Trucks believe their contribution to the event will encourage many of the pupils from primary up to the high school to consider a career within the industry. The business hopes to revisit the project with new students next year.

Brannock High’s physics teacher, David Harris, agreed, “Engaging the pupils in Vex Robotics has been great to link physics to engineering in the real world. Really looking forward to continuing this next school year”

Whilst Audrey Crawford, DYW Coordinator, said, "Engaging in such events demonstrates the fantastic links being made between education and the engineering industry. In turn, raising awareness of the links between STEM learning and engineering employment. With a view to bridging the skills gap facing the engineering labour force of the future, by Developing the Young Workforce. It was a privilege to be involved and looking forward to developing it further in the future."

Students will now apply their knowledge gained from this project and prepare for entry into the Vex Robotics Competition 2020.