During the second week of the Easter holiday, Mr Raj, Mr Lakhani and Dr Mahmoud led a group of 26 Year 9 students to the Makerspace at Imperial College London.

During the four days, students learnt the practice of using various machines, 3D printers and laser cutting as they attempted to provide ingenious solutions to a number of problems they would encounter in a variety of imaginary scenarios, such as living on Mars, food scarcity, or finding accommodation for everyone on the planet. Students worked in groups trying to find possible solutions and design a prototype using various materials and then present this in front of an audience at the Makerspace. At the end, a winning group was selected which will go on to represent our school in the final in July.

The organisers were incredibly impressed with our students’ behaviour, as well as their extended knowledge of Product Design equipment, thanks to our DT teacher Mrs Joshi.

Below you can read some of the comments written by students about how their participation in the competition influenced their learning and practical knowledge.

“From Monday 08th April to Thursday 11th April 2024, several Year 9 students were given the fantastic opportunity to take part in the Imperial Proto-Maker Challenge. The challenge is a mini version of the actual Maker Challenge run by the university and it is a STEM-based activity.

During the program, we were able to design and create (as a group) our own unique prototype, as a solution to a problem presented to us, having at our disposal a variety of complicated, but fascinating machines, equipment and materials we could use. The ambassadors at Imperial were also very helpful and supportive.

At the end of the competition, I was very glad that the prototype created by our group was selected as the winner.

During these sessions, we were able to improve and develop our STEM skills, but also our teamwork, organisational and presentational skills. Overall, all of us had a wonderful time and we really enjoyed the experience.” (Swati, Year 9)

“Participating in the Imperial College’s Proto-Maker Challenge was an unforgettable journey filled with innovation and excitement. On our first day, as we waited for the coach, our group delved into our prompt, “New Age of Food”, that we received the previous day and which we researched diligently. Amidst the brainstorming, we came up with our final idea which was to produce a vertical farm prototype.

During the next couple of days, we created and refined our ideas and craftsmanship. The sense of teamwork among participants was palpable as we exchanged ideas, shared knowledge, and supported each other along the way.

All of our team members worked really hard and committed wholeheartedly into making the vertical farm prototype. The culmination of our efforts brought elation beyond words when we were announced as the winners. Yet, more than the victory, it was the journey itself that left an indelible memory. I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this experience. The kindness and encouragement of everyone involved made it truly remarkable. I am filled with gratitude for the memories made, the lessons learned, and the friendships forged.” (Sumera, Year 9)