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Bradford school kids rise to Challenge


WHAT WOULD happen to Bradford if it was hit by a hurricane?

The city's schoolchildren were asked this question at a workshop designed to whet youngsters' appetite for a career in civil engineering.

As part of the Rapid Response Engineering Challenge, held at Bradford University, eighty 1213 year olds from schools across Bradford were given information and shown footage about Hurricane Mitch, which hit Honduras in 1998.

They then tackled a range of theoretical and practical tasks to provide relief to the hurricane's victims.

During morning sessions students, working in 13 teams, used project sheets to learn about and assess the effects of Hurricane Mitch.

They calculated accommodation needs for 2,700 refugees and designed relief camps by examining landscape, location, access, availability of clean water and options for sewage disposal.

In the afternoon the young students' ingenuity and practical skills were tested. Challenges included building a water transportation system that could negotiate topographic obstacles and building weather proof accommodation.

Raw materials were extremely limited and available only at a cost, as students considered function, price and buildability.

Remarkably, all designs stood up to testing under simulated hurricane conditions. The team representing Prince Henry School came out the clear winner.

The Rapid Response Engineering Challenge was organised for gifted and talented children, singled out by the government for additional educational funding.

It was kicked off by Bradford University head of civil engineering Steve Garrity, who explained the role of civil engineering. The civil engineer is essential to the fabric of society yet is often an unsung hero, he said.

After the challenge feedback showed 14 out of the 80 students said they would seriously consider civil engineering as a career and a further 20 said they were interested to find out more.

The event was organised by the ICE's Yorkshire Association, Construction Industry Training Board, Bradford University and the government backed Science Engineering Technology Mathematics Network (SETNET).

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