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Over 7000 Students Compete in Engineering Competition


01 August 2017

Over 7000 Students Compete in Schools in Engineering Competition

In 2017 over 7000 students from 700 schools throughout New Zealand are taking part in a nationwide series of 230 engineering competitions - now it is Auckland’s turn.

Over 2,200 students from 193 Auckland schools are taking part in the Vector EPro8 Challenge. The first Auckland heat of the engineering-based competition was at Papatoetoe High School last Wednesday, where McAuley College won both the year 9 and year 10 events.

Four categories of events include years 5-6, years 7-8, year 9, and year 10. The Auckland series consists of 67 events and will run throughout term 3 and term 4. During each competition heat, teams will undertake a range of challenges with the top teams from each event moving on to a semi-final and then a grand final.

The challenges remain secret until the start of each event. Past challenges include building a Mars rover, constructing a crane, designing a party popper machine, and calculating how many balloons it would take to make someone fly away. The challenges are all designed to give students a fun and rewarding introduction to science and engineering.

The Vector EPro8 Challenge is the Auckland leg of a nationwide series of events organised by brothers Kelvin and Andrew Thiele. After coming up with the idea in 2014 they spent a year developing the EPro8 Challenge before launching it in Wellington in 2015.

“My inspiration was basically thinking about what my dream event would have been back when I was 11 year’s old,” says Kelvin Thiele.

“We know we’ve got something great because it’s really taken off. The substantial growth since 2016 shows the value schools put on science and engineering in their classrooms and the importance of students working collaboratively to solve problems.

“It’s incredibly rewarding seeing what the teams achieve. I love it when you tell them what the challenges will be – half of the teams look excited and half look scared. But by the end of the event they have all achieved something very impressive.”

Energy company, Vector, sponsors the Auckland competition and Chief Executive Simon Mackenzie says it’s all about getting more kids thinking about the possibilities of a career in technology and engineering.

“The EPro8 team are getting people excited about engineering and that’s really inspiring. These kids face a future dominated by technology and innovation where problem solving skills will be crucial. It’s awesome to see this challenge align with our vision of creating a new energy future,” says Mr Mackenzie.

Each team is based at a workstation containing equipment that is designed and 3D printed specifically for the Vector EPro8 Challenge.

“We wanted to take the hard work out of construction and engineering, so that teams could focus on solving problems. We also wanted the completed challenges to look great, to be large scale, and to be spectator friendly,” Thiele explains.

“The really exciting thing is seeing parents come along to watch they want to have a turn too. So much so, we are now running events for adults.”

2016 was the first year that Auckland schools were involved with 91 schools taking part. Nationwide over 7,000 students from 700 schools are taking part in a series of 230 engineering competitions.

ENDS

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