SLIDESHOW: Pupils show off their skills at STEM Challenge

Montgomery High School in the Young Engineers Event
Montgomery High School in the Young Engineers Event
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Self-starting and enterprising young scientists showed off their prowess in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) as they competed to win thousands of pounds for their school.

Schools from across the Fylde coast competed in the heats of the Young Engineers 2015 challenge, run by The Gazette and Blackpool and The Fylde College.

We’ve definitely learned stuff while doing this challenge

Dozens of teenagers turned out to compete against their peers in the hope of winning the £10,000 prize, courtesy of sponsors Cuadrilla Resources and Centrica Energy.

Teams were challenged to build a cable car that was self-propelled, using just cardboard, string, weights, blu-tack, tape and some metal, to try to travel the furthest along a line at a slight decline.

The 10 teams, out of 17 competing in the heats, whose cars travelled the furthest qualifying for the finals, which will feature a similar challenge again.

Rossall School took first place on the day, with their cable car travelling 7.65m in the first heat.

Rossall pupil Jack Williams, 14, said: “It was challenging but really good, we feel quietly confident now.

“We’re all enthusiastic about STEM subjects, they’re very interesting.”

Pupils from former winners Millfield Science and Performing Arts College were both pleased and relieved to get through to the finals, after winning the inaugral contest in 2013, and practicing steadfastedly ahead of the heats.

14-year-old Jen Bradshaw said: “It was a relief when it travelled along the line.

“We’ve definitely learned stuff while doing this challenge.”

While their team didn’t qualify, St Annes College Grammar’s team defied stereotypes that STEM is for the boys, entering an all-girl team as well as some of the youngest competitors

Team member Erin Stonley, 13, said: “At first the challenging was really hard but when we started perfecting our model it was fun.”

Cuadrilla’s technical director Andrew Quarles said it was great to see the teenager’s enthusiasm for the challenge.

He added: “It was a difficult challenge but they were learning about engineering, physics, momentum and friction as well as the human challenges of teamwork, creativity and design, they’re all critical skills.

“It’s great to see their enthusiasm, they’re really into it and very excited.”

Now teams from the following schools are looking forward to competing in the final on March 11:

AKS in Lytham, Carr Hill High School in Kirkham, Hodgson Academy in Poulton, Kirkham Grammar School, Millfield Science and Performing Arts College in Thornton, Montgomery High School in Bispham, South Shore Academy, St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Blackpool, St Aidan’s CE Technology College in Preesall, and Rossall School in Fleetwood.