Wholeschool Portal | Home 19 February 2018
Ballymena Acadamy Scoop Top Prize for Saving the World!

Pictured with the winning design are; Year ten pupils, Amy Harte, Jacob Natalicio,
James Cahoon and Adam Thompson along with Mr. Reid, Technology Teacher.

Imagine a radioactive meteorite is about to hit planet earth and its down to a team of young scientists to save us all.

This was the task set to students who competed in the Rotary International Technology competition at the Big Bang Event at Ulster University Jordanstown tournament this week.

The 16 teams from secondary schools across Northern Ireland were challenged to create a device which could disrupt the meteors projection and save the world. The tools in their inventors kit included a tennis ball - which would represent the meteor - wood, rubber bands, straws and string and were challenged come up with a solution to save the world in a short space of time, during just one school day.

Pictured with the winning design are; Year ten pupils,
Amy Harte, Jacob Natalicio, James Cahoon and Adam Thompson

The winning team from Ballymena Academy stood out from the crowd by completing a task to design a wooden pulley system able to lift the ball, securely and swiftly. Made from lenths of timber, the device featured an intricate pulley system which the students had learnt the basics of in their Year 10 technlogy classes. The project required the students to use the theory they had learnt and put it into practice, all under time constraints and working as a team.

Seamus Walsh, of Dungannon Rotary Club is the District Technology Tournament Co-Ordinator and avid supporter of the development of young people and the STEM subjects. He said: “This has been a hugely exciting event for Rotary and we are delighted that Rotary Ireland’s Technology Tournament has featured as one of the key competitions at the Big Bang Event. 

”I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ballymena Academy and all of the other schools who took part in this fantastic event.

“Northern Ireland has a lot of very talented young people and one of our many objectives is to further support the development of STEM subjects amongst the young people of Northern Ireland.

“This event is a great way of doing that as the enthusiasm, competitiveness and of course camaraderie has been evident throughout the entire day.

Seamus concluded: “We hope that by supporting and nurturing these much needed skills that these individuals will progress better in life and also ultimately benefit industry by having innovative employees.”

Year ten pupils at Ballymena Academy,  James Cahoon, Adam Thompson,
Jacob Natalicio and Amy Harte along with Phillip Beggs, of Comber Rotary Club

Each team was assessed by a small panel of Rotarians and industrialists with backgrounds in engineering, technology, enterprise and education who also help to steer the teams by asking pointed questions during the day.

Mr. Reid, Technology Teacher at Ballymena Academy was thrilled that his pupils came out on top, speaking at the event he said: “Today has been a fantastic day for all of the pupils involved and I would like to thank Rotary for introducing such a fantastically innovative competition.

“Today’s event has further encouraged our young people to see design and technology as attractive and challenging and has provided opportunities for team building and practicing communication skills, as well as resolving a design and technology problem.

“I am immensely proud of our Year Ten pupils who worked so well as a team and have shown that they have the operational and manufacturing skills required to do well in this subject. They produced their project quickly, with efficiency and a real flair for design and on behalf of Ballymena Academy, I congratulate them for their brilliant work in securing first place.”

The Big Bang Event is organised by Sentinus, a local charity which promotes the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, they provide a wide range of programmes designed to support the teaching and learning of these subjects particularly within a real world context. The overall objective of the charity is to help secure a consistent flow of talented young people into the STEM sector.

Bill Connor, CEO, Sentinus, is delighted to see Rotary Ireland at the event. He said: “We have always enjoyed a mutual understanding with Rotary Ireland, who are also heavily involved with supporting young people and their education. We believe their involvement with the Big Bang Event and the Technology Tournament provides a great synergy with Sentinus and what we are trying to promote, the future is in the hands of our young people and both our organisations believe that STEM subjects will play a pivotal role in the future of the NI economy.”

For more information on Rotary or to find out how to join your local club and get involved in exciting projects such as this please email: rotaryireland@gmail.com or visit www.rotary.ie

Pictured with the winning design are; Year ten pupils, James Cahoon, Adam Thompson,
Jacob Natalicio and  Amy Harte along with Seamus Walsh, of Dungannon Rotary Club.

Pictured with the winning design are; Phillip Beggs, Comber Rotary, Year ten pupils, James Cahoon, Amy Harte, Jacob Natalicio and Adam Thompson alongside Chris Kyle, Judge at the Big Bang Fair.