Forge Students Win Silver in STEM

Two students from Ormiston Forge Academy in Cradley Heath have come second in a national competition.

After winning the West Midlands STEM challenge in Summer 2013, Natasha Chifamba and Sherriff Shakoane, 15 and 14 years old respectively, recently competed against the other regional winners at the final in Manchester. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Government has long identified STEM education as a major priority at both school and higher education level.

During the challenge the students had to calibrate and program a LEGO NXT robot to follow a track in an allotted time. They then had to present their robot and the problems they came across to the other groups and the Lord Mayor of Manchester. Ormiston Forge Academy student Natasha Chifamba said, “There were many difficulties; the robot’s sensors were over sensitive, and the steering wasn’t smooth, but we worked together and overcame them. In the nick of time we managed to get the robot to follow a complex track at a competitive speed.”

The team were awarded a glass trophy and a certificate by the Lord Mayor. Teacher Jenny Onafowokan was proud of her students, “They did a fantastic job, worked hard and performed well under pressure. To do this well in a national competition is credit to their team work skills and the way they conducted themselves.”

Sherriff Shakoane and Natasha Chifamba with their STEM award

Sherriff Shakoane and Natasha Chifamba with their STEM award

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
STEM subjects are integral to the UK’s success: the UK is the world’s sixth largest manufacturer, engineering turnover is around £800 billion per year, and whilst the UK makes up only 1% of the world’s population, we produce 10% of the world’s top scientific research. Despite this, it is remarkable to note that even though STEM graduates have the potential to earn amongst the highest salaries of all new recruits, employers are finding it difficult to recruit STEM skilled staff. And alongside our need for a skilled STEM workforce, it is crucial that all young people, regardless of their future career pathway, have the STEM knowledge and skills they need to be an informed citizen in an increasingly scientific and technological society.
From the National STEM Centre.

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