Mini Engineering Challenge with Thames Water and The Leigh UTC

A group of 28 Year 12 students took part in a Mini Engineering Challenge with Thames Water. Tracy and Greg, from Thames Water, ably assisted by Bart from Thames 21, explained the challenge:-

To plan, cost, build and test a water network – moving water from a storage tank to 5 different locations.

Planning and costing
Each team of 4 had to plan the route their network of pipes would take – pipes could only be laid vertically or horizontally and they had to cross a river and a railway line – this made the challenge even harder and the students worked together to find the solution. A fee had to be paid for crossing each section of land and the selection of pipes they had chosen needed to be paid for. The students were given a budget to work within and they costed their outlay accordingly.

Building the network
Once their equipment had been ordered and delivered, students worked as a team to build their network of pipes and tanks – they had to follow the plan they had initially made. It was at this point they would find out if they had made any mistakes at the planning stage. Through their initial teamwork and careful planning each team were able to build their network and there were no unforeseen problems.

Testing the network
Now for the moment of truth – would the water flow from the tank, through the pipe network and into the 5 different locations?

Success for all teams!
Each team had engineered and built a working network of pipes and the water flowed freely.

The final challenge was to return the water from the sites to the water tank. Each group found a different, and ingenious way to do this.

Here are a few quotes from the students involved:

“It was a fun, interesting challenge.”

“Planning was most important, building was the most rewarding – I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

The team from Thames Water also enjoyed the day, and had this to say about The Leigh UTC students:

“The Thames Water Education team were delighted to work with such an enthusiastic group of students on the Network Challenge who worked well in their teams to meet their objectives. We were excited to see some very interesting and innovative water network designs being constructed (and tested!) which demonstrates the creativity of the Leigh UTC students. Well done to all the students involved, we look forward to our next visit!”

Water usage
The session was rounded off with a look at water usage and how to reduce the water we use in our everyday lives.

The Leigh UTC staff and students would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Tracy and Greg from Thames Water, and Bart from Thames 21, for an enjoyable and informative morning that was enjoyed by all.

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