Young people create robots and solar cars on campus

Schoolchildren from Sheffield will be building solar powered cars and robots at the University of Sheffield this week, as part of a Science and Technology Challenge day. The activity day, which is being run by MCS Projects Ltd, in partnership with the University, will take place on Wednesday 9 July 2008.

Over 80 young people, working in mixed school teams, will undertake a total of three practical science challenges which are introduced, supervised and judged by a team of students from the University.

The challenges on the day will include: lego robotics – where students assemble and programme a lego robot to do various tasks; renewable energy car – where students make an electric vehicle from a kit with very few instructions. After testing with a battery they will then power the car with a solar panel and subsequently a water fuel cell; and finally bridge construction – where students make a bridge of any kind from paper tubes and string to span 450mm. The bridge will then be tested with weights for strength.

At the end of the day the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Jane Bird and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engineering at the University of Sheffield, Professor Mike Hounslow, will be given the opportunity to view the teams' creations. They will then present the winning teams with trophies and the other students with certificates for taking part in the day.

Gaynor Hamilton, Outreach Manager at the University of Sheffield, said: "The University is delighted to have been given the opportunity to support MCS Project's Science and Technology Challenge day. Through innovative team challenges, the participants are exposed to many different aspects of science, technology and engineering and stimulated to see careers in these fields as an exciting prospect."

Paul Waterworth from MSC Projects, said: "Our Science and Technology Challenge days encourage children to enjoy solving practical science and technology related problems. They also help to dispel myths and perceived barriers to higher education by giving young people the chance to experience university life first hand and by working and learning from current university students."

Notes for Editors: Photo opportunity: The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Jane Bird and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Professor Mike Hounslow, will be viewing the young people taking part in the challenges on Wednesday 9 July from 1.15pm to 1.45pm at the University's Richard Roberts Building. The building is located by the roundabout at the bottom of Western Bank / Brook Hill, next to the University's Dainton Building.

The University's Outreach and Access section organises similar schemes and events throughout the region in order to develop pupils' interest in going to university as part of its commitment to widening participation in higher education

Students from the following schools will be attending the Science and Technology Challenge day on Wednesday 9 July: Abbeydale Grange, All Saints Catholic High School, Meadowhead, Myers Grove, Wisewood, Tapton, Firth Park Community College.

MCS Projects is a limited company which runs similar challenge days around the country in Science and Technology and other disciplines.

For further information or for a full programme of the day's event please contact: Jenny Wilson, Media Relations Officer on 0114 2225339 or email j.c.wilson@sheffield.ac.uk