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Students get a taste of Land Rover offroad fun

  • By Sergio Braston
  • Published 05/29/2012

It was mud, water, slippery slopes and nail-biting drops for a team of students from Withernsea High School, North Humberside, as they experienced the thrills and excitement of off-road driving. Whithernsea Warriors: Harry Cornwall (15), Rob Spick (16), Rob Greaves (15) and Gary Whittaker (15), had won this unique opportunity after battling against school teams from around the country in the 4×4 in Schools Technology Challenge to take the 2009 UK 4×4 in Schools Championship title.

The students’ efforts were rewarded with a day at the Yorkshire 4×4 off road driving centre in Felixkirk, Thirsk. They enjoyed driving in fifty acres of inclines, drops, side slopes, ruts, mud, rocks, trees and jumps, with professional instructors showing them the ropes and each student being given a chance to take over the steering wheel.

The 4×4 in Schools Technology Challenge tasks groups of students to design and build a remotely controlled four wheel drive vehicle. It then has to negotiate challenging road surface obstacles and electronic tests, on a model off-road track which emulates the concept of a 4×4 vehicle. Whithernsea Warriors had worked tirelessly to develop their model car and were delighted to win the competition and earn themselves their very special driving experience.

Andrew Denford, Director of the 4×4 in Schools Technology Challenge, says of the winning students, “The boys had put so much effort into their remote control car and this paid off with the team winning their great day at Yorkshire 4×4 off road driving centre. It’s the first time that they have driven a car and I’m sure it’s an experience which they will always remember. It was also a fitting conclusion to their car building project, with the chance to be behind the wheel of the real thing.

“The 4×4 Technology Challenge has been welcomed by schools as a programme which fits into the curriculum and raises awareness, interest and enthusiasm in engineering through the practical application of design and technology, mathematics and science. We are indebted to the support of our sponsors: Land Rover, IET, Denford and JCB who help us make it possible.”

The initiative has grown in popularity since its inception nearly five years ago and is welcomed for its relevance to careers and skills for the workplace. The manufacturing industry requires creative, multi-disciplined individuals who are capable of problem solving through individual endeavour and working in motivated teams. This project reflects these attributes, with the Challenge requiring students to come together to resolve a complex problem, sharing intellectual and practical resources in the pursuit of an innovative solution. It is an excellent opportunity for students to work in design teams and gain an awareness and understanding of key skills and project management.

The challenge is fully mapped to the National Curriculum and examination qualifications. Resources enable any school to deliver the initiatives as a full part of the “normal” curriculum between the ages 11 to 19. The resources include flexible structures from STEM club to full cross curriculum project, session plans, clear learning objectives and the resources you need to run the project as well as support and guidance on how the resource can enrich your school.

About the Author: Sergio Braston is a fan ofOff road driving



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