​On the 9th January, the Rolls Royce team delivered an excellent workshop for our Year 3 to 5 pupils in which the children had to complete problem-solving activities focussed on boat designs. The workshop was an excellent opportunity for the children to think practically, develop vital communication and problem solving skills and learn how STEM disciplines link to real life.

The team introduced the workshop by explaining why constant improvements in engineering and design are so important in today’s world to create a better future, help people, create new machines and equipment and enable young people to build on the vital skills they develop in school.

The first challenge was to build a boat that either demonstrated drag resistance or buoyancy. The children used one sheet of A4 paper and sets of instructions to create their boats. They tested the boats to assess the drag in special channels with pulleys; and after this first test, their designs had to pass the buoyancy test, where the boat was filled with a selection of nuts and bolts. The objective in this case was to ensure that the boat didn’t sink! The second workshop focussed on the Triton project – creating a boat with a good surface area, but not too much material weight, and the ability to move quickly, with a propeller, hauling a cargo of six marbles. The children were provided with foil (for water-proofing), straws, corks, masking tape, paper and lollipop sticks.

The designs were tested simultaneously for speed and buoyancy. Each boat had to cross the finish line to qualify for a chance to be the ultimate winner. Oliver W created a fantastic model, which passed the finish line in 2 seconds! Edward G’s boat came in a close second, with a time of 3.4 seconds.

The workshop was a great success and very professionally delivered. Below is a selection of comments from the day:

“The workshop was brilliant – I really want to be a boat designer!”

“Engineering is so creative!”

“I enjoyed helping my friend when I could see she was struggling to get her design right.”

“I could see where improvements could be made after the first test.”

“Can we have another Rolls Royce workshop very soon?”