Introducing Engineering via Animatronics

Chesterton Community College

"The project began as an afterschool girls-only animatronics club. It will now broaden its remit and will include a boys-only group too, with the more experienced girls acting initially as consultants to both groups.

The project will see groups of pupils construct programmable robots from their own initial concepts. They will be following through the design and development stages involved in construction, electronics and programming necessary to get to final model, using and developing the skills they acquire in their physics, IT and D&T lessons.
Investment in a computer controlled cutting tool will allow not only the group members, but also the rest of the pupils in their D&T lessons, to begin to explore the use of Computer Aided Design."

Dave Timney BSc (Hons) (Project Lead) Lancaster University, PhD Reading University, Cert.Phys Open University. A physics specialist with 13 years teaching experience. An innovative teacher who likes to encourage pupils’ independent learning and their curiosity about the world of science and engineering. Having previously taught maths, IT, PE and geography at various points in his career alongside science Dave is keen to develop the cross curricular collaboration such an engineering project entails.

Steve Hinshelwood BA (Hons) Cambridge University, PhD University of London. Head of Science and a physics specialist with 17 years teaching experience. Has provided enthusiastic support throughout the project. He has jointly run the afterschool girls animatronics club. He has also run robotics clubs in the past and has formed links with local companies. He is a keen supporter of enrichment activities and the continued development within the science department.

Nick Dawson BA (Hons) in Technical Arts and Special Effects, Wimbledon School of Art. Design and technology teacher. Skilled in both the design and construction of models. He has been acting as technical advisor to the pupils on the feasibility and logistics of building their model designs. His department provides access to materials and tools in the Technology workshops. Nick is keen to upgrade the level of access to technology within the d&t department for all pupils.

Pete Hill MA (Cambridge University) MSc (Hatfield Polytechnic) Progress Support Worker / ex-Science Technician. His previous career as an IT professional equips him with the skills necessary to assist with the technical side of programming the robots and troubleshooting issues as they arise. He is enthusiastic about the project and his hands-on approach gained through his technician role sees him prompting the pupils with tips and tricks for getting around practical problems too.

Ben Dobson MA (Cambridge). Science/IT teacher. Previously a software engineer, Ben’s expertise in programming further enhances the level of support that the pupils can turn to. Having two real IT experts will allow us to run parallel groups for the girls and boys whilst maintaining the high level of expertise available to both.

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