National Champions - 'Most Innovative Thinking Award'
During 2010 and 2011, children from Years 5 and 6 took part in the Formula 1 in Schools Challenge. The project developed the children's skills and knowledge across all curriculum areas, as the children had to design, make and test a racing car to compete against other schools. The project culminated in a racing day, where children raced their cars, created a pit display to present their work and made a presentation to the judges. We won a variety of awards and acknowledgments throughout the competition:
The children won the 'Best Overall' and 'Best Sponsorship' awards in the Carmarthenshire Final, which enabled two of our teams to compete in the Welsh Final. Our United Paradise team won the '2nd Overall' award in Wales, which enabled them to qualify for the UK Finals. Our Original Lightning team narrowly missed out on qualification, finishing 3rd in Wales overall.
Children from the United Paradise team competed in the National UK Final at the ICC Excel Arena in London. Through several fundraising efforts (xmas fair, selling team merchandise, etc) and sponsorship, we were able to secure funding for 3 teachers and 10 children to stay in London overnight for the event. The children prepared a 7 minute presentation to the judges on the engineering and testing which they undertook, racing their car, creating a 'pit display' to show the processes involved in the project, creating and displaying portfolios of work, etc.
They were awarded with the National Award for 'Most Innovative Thinking' at the end of the event. This was a result of the various thinking strategies they adopted to overcome and engineering and design problems. Judges remarked during the course of the project that several pieces of the 'children's work was up to a GCSE standard'.
Children raised £2500 of sponsorship money during the course of the project by writing their own letters to various local companies. This money was used to purchase merchandise, overalls for their team kits and materials to build their cars.
The school received tremendous publicity during the course of the project. We appeared in the Carmarthen Journal three times (once as a front page spread), the Swansea Evening Post and on television via the HTV Wales News after qualifying for the National Final. Local businesses also marketed the school in their shop windows after providing the team with sponsorship, namely Burgess Jewellers. As a result of winning the National Award, we are also featured on the 'F1 in Schools' website under the 'Gallery' and 'Winners' pages. The school is also featured on a photo journalist's website who was present taking the pictures on the race day.
As a result of these numerous successes, any schools thinking about taking part in the project in future are welcome into school to observe examples of the children's work, presentations and to receive advice from Mr Cooper regarding the setup and stages involved in completing the project.