Culloden Academy students will represent Scotland after winning a regional science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) challenge.
The Global Underwater Hub and Smallpeice Trust organised the STEM Challenge and connected students to local industry leaders. It took place at the Science Skills Academy earlier this month.
The challenge asked students to use their engineering, coding and communication skills to respond to a simulated undersea environmental incident.
The team from Culloden Academy competed against other STEM students from the area. Kingussie High School, Millburn and Alness Academies also competed.
Students earned points based on teamwork, understanding of the subsea industry, time taken and the quality of their design.
All hands on deck for STEM Challenge
During the challenge, students had to come up with a design for their own remote operated vehicle (ROV). Then, they sent their ROVs on a mission to respond to a simulated environmental scenario.
They needed to incorporate a number of features, including sensors, grabbers and beacons, and then write lines of code to give their ROV directions.
In addition to the engineering challenges, they also had to pitch their creation to a group of subsea industry specialists.
The Culloden students will now compete at the UK final in Aberdeen.
Culloden Academy biology teacher Jennifer Ross said that the STEM challenge exercised a variety of skills. In addition to the hands-on experience, her students learned about how their classroom learning can translate into a career.
Some of the students came away eager to explore careers they hadn’t considered before.
Opening the door to new possibilities
Iain Mackinnon said that the challenge inspired him to explore a new field of study.
“I really enjoyed the experience and found everything we did interesting about the ROV and engineering really, especially where it is used in the world.
“This has led me to learn more about the physics area of science. It gave me a broader understanding of how physics is used in the world.”
Daniel Garrod said: “It was a really great experience to be involved in and gave me a much better understanding of marine engineering.”
Culloden Academy STEM: Next stop, Aberdeen
There, they’ll face off against teams from Glasgow, Manchester, Norwich and Bristol. The finals take place on June 15 and 16.
Erin Macfie said that the team is ready for their next challenge.
“It was a great experience and we are all really looking forward to the next event in Aberdeen.”