Ocean Science STEAM Day : Developing a Prototype

Ocean Science STEAM Day :

Hot on the heels of our morning SEA LIFE aquarium presentation and activities led by Kasey, our STEAM day continued with students challenged to develop a prototype grate that could be used over pipes running to the ocean.

The  goal was for the grate to collect rubbish and prevent it from moving into the ocean. Whilst that sounds easy, the real challenge was using only the materials distributed to each group and developing a marketing campaign to “sell” the prototype to the public.

View the challenge here

Students worked on their prototypes for around 15 minutes before lunch, regrouping after our Friday barbecue to complete their grate and marketing campaign. Whilst the initial stages of prototype development saw the students working on a strategy and slowly forming their ideas, the last stage was a flurry of activity as they worked against the clock to perfect their idea.

Three groups successfully lodged a completed prototype and marketing campaign. Each group had divided the challenge into a construction and creative component with students volunteering for one or the other. The results were interesting. All three groups had developed a similar prototype pre-lunchtime but had diverged into different thinking by the time they had returned.

At 1.30 pm, our judges arrived for the final part of the challenge. Each group presented their marketing campaign, revealed their prototype and presented it to the rest of the school and the judges for viewing. They then put it to the test. A large gutter had been set up ready for the test. each group emptied a bag of debris into the gutter before arranging their grate and pipe in a bucket ready to collect the water and hopefully stop the debris moving into the bucket. There was laughter as the bucket of water was emptied into the gutter and it made its way to the grate.

Whilst all three prototypes allowed water to flow through them, only two prevented the leaf matter. All three found it difficult to hold back sandy particles. There was a clear winner that filtered the water better than the rest, but did it have a good enough marketing campaign? The judges thought so!

After awarding the prizes to The Magnificent Gutter Filtration Unit, students moved across to the poster competiton. You’ll need to read our next blog post to see who won the coveted SEA LIFE Aquarium Family Pass.