Budding teenage engineers from three Norfolk schools were set a task to design and build a solution to a technological challenge at an annual competition in Downham Market.

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Each year Downham Rotary Club invites design and technology students to take part in the technology tournament, with challenges set for each age group.

About 80 pupils, aged from 11 to 16, from Downham Academy, Terrington St Clement High School and Iceni Academy of Methwold took part at the town hall yesterday.

This year the youngsters had to make a claw to pick up a radioactive meteorite using a tennis ball.

The working models were tested and judged by five experts and the winning team, from Downham Academy – Maddie Hobday, Keegan Barlow, Holly Leach and Liam Nelson – was presented with the trophy.

Alan Culley, Downham Rotary club president, said: “It’s a competition set up by the national organisation. This year the students had to put a tennis ball into a radioactive meteorite.”

The judges were looking for innovation and teamwork and Iceni Academy teacher Pete Bate said: “It was a good opportunity to learn problem-solving and to work with other students.”

Teacher James Wetherall, from Terrington High School, added: “It’s about team-building. The children get a whole day to work together to solve problems and complete a task.”

Youngsters Sam Martin, Ally-Jane Scott-Stevenson, Mollie Rolls and Reuben Cocksedge, from Iceni Academy, said that, while it was very challenging, they enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, Michael Gallagher, Kayleigh Saint, Sean Buck and Kodie Rawlings, from Terrington High School, said it was good fun, and Downham students Bethany English, Lois Nash and Sam Lance felt it was a challenge but enjoyable. The event was sponsored by BAE Systems at RAF Marham, whose education ambassador co-ordinator, Euan Lucie-Smith said: “It’s all about practical skills and a little bit of engineering, and problem-solving. It’s sowing the seeds of engineering, which can be fun.”

Are children at your local school taking part in a challenging event? Email reporter David Bale at david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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