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Nine and 10 year-olds from Southover Primary School in Lewes took part in the SATRO Mega-Structures Challenge organised by SATRO and Beard

Construction challenge brings pupils' lessons to life

Young builders at Southover School learn from Beard as their school is refurbished

Posted by Stephanie Broad | June 25, 2016 | Bricks & mortar

A group of 53 budding young constructors at Southover Primary School in Lewes have been learning how to build mega-structures with a little help from Beard - the regional construction company refurbishing their school. 

The nine- and 10-year-olds were taking part in the SATRO Mega-Structures Challenge organised by regional education charity SATRO, which helps young people develop STEM skills through hands-on project experience working with industry professionals like Beard. 

Pupils were tasked with designing and building a sports stadium with the aim of engaging them in problem-solving and working to meet deadlines as they would have to do in the real world. 

“We wanted to give the children a fun construction project which would bring their lessons to life and provide an insight into how buildings are designed and put together,” says Tony Taylor, special works manager for Beard. “We also wanted them to see how the maths, science and technology subjects that they learn in school are applied to create some of the fantastic mega-structures we see around us in everyday life.” 

Working in teams with each pupil having a designated project role, the children had to find a way to design and build their stadium with only A4 paper, masking tape and nuts and bolts. 

Construction challenge brings Southover School pupils’ lessons to life (left to right, front row): Pupils Sylvie, Freddy, Saul, Thomas, Ilias and Isabelle with David Diffey, Beard senior site manager (back left) and Tony Taylor, Beard special works manager (back right).

“With limited materials to work with, we wanted the children to be innovative and find creative ways to build their structure,” Tony continues. “While we did give them some ideas on how to approach the project, it didn’t take long before they were rolling-up the paper, sticking it together to form rods and then connecting these together with nuts and bolts.” 

Once their stadium was completed, each team had to give a short presentation on its design features and their construction approach with certificates awarded to the winning team.  

Tony concluded: “We’ve enjoyed working with Southover School and SATRO on this challenge. Our current refurbishment activities at the school have also helped the children understand why subjects like maths and science are so important. We were really impressed with the passion and logic shown by the youngsters when they were designing and building their structures. Hopefully, events like this will inspire more young people to pursue careers in construction, engineering and structural design in the future to meet the UK’s growing skills shortage in these fields.”    

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