Space mission was an out of this world experience

Published: January 3, 2020

A group of 7th Form students from Telford College were given an ‘out of this world’ experience when they took part in a national space design challenge.

They travelled to the University of Derby to take part in the UK Space Design Competition, a science and engineering project designed to simulate a career in industry.

Their mission was to design methods for keeping humans alive, and happy, in outer space or on the surface of another planet, integrating their solutions with the natural environment.

Some of the Telford College 7th Formers arriving at the University of Derby.

Some of the Telford College 7th Formers arriving at the University of Derby.

The day-long challenge tested their knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, and ended with a presentation to a panel of judges.

The group of 12 students said they took huge inspiration from the eye-opening experience.

Benjamin Johnson, who is studying A Level biology, chemistry, further maths and extended project, said: “It gave me an idea of what a scientific job was like in industry, by taking me out of the comfort zone of A levels.

“We had to work with people we’d never met before on a scenario that was totally new to us. It gave us a large amount of independence, as the project was led by a president – a student who was elected by other students.”

Thomas Singh, who is studying maths, physics, and chemistry A levels, having already achieved AS in further maths, added: “I wanted to participate in this competition to improve my ability to improvise and research solutions to unfamiliar problems.

“It was a challenge to communicate within the team and integrate many different objectives into our presentation, especially with time constraints.
Some of the Telford College 7th Formers arriving at the University of Derby 2

Some of the Telford College 7th Formers arriving at the University of Derby 2

“But I have gained valuable experience in finding a compromise between potential solutions, through evaluation of their attributes and real-life practicality.”

Stuart Gregory, curriculum leader for STEM at Telford College, said: “It was fantastic to see our students performing in such a challenging competition. On the day, they had to work completely independently of staff support.

“We were incredibly proud of our young people – their ideas were convincing, and demonstrated an excellent understanding of STEM and how it can be applied to a specific scenario.

“These students have high aspirations for university and future careers, and this experience has provided them with credible, and hugely valuable experience of working in this environment.”

Holly Davies, head of 7th Form at Telford College, added: “Taking part in competitions like these provides excellent evidence for our students’ UCAS applications and job interviews.”