Robertson NS in Ballintra honoured at the STEPS Young Engineers Award virtual awards

Donegal Primary School came up with their very own eco hub for the school

Robertson NS in Ballintra  honoured at the STEPS Young Engineers Award virtual awards

Robertson NS, Ballintra Eco hub

Students from Robertson National School, Ballintra have this week been honoured at the STEPS Young Engineers Award virtual awards ceremony for their innovative engineering project, the Robertson Eco Hub.

Carla, Aaron, Will, Luke and Matthew from third class at Robertson National School were placed in ‘Runners-Up’ position for their innovative project idea which sought to develop a multi-purpose Eco Hub at their school.

The students created a hub which would contain storage for school supplies, a greenhouse, beehives and a grass roof for insects. The innovative students also placed solar panels on the roof to power the eco hub.

Now in its second year, the Engineers Ireland STEPS Young Engineers Award encourages third- and fourth-class pupils and their teachers to explore the world of engineering by developing an engineering project that would help to improve their local community.

The award is one of four primary and post primary student engineering initiatives coordinated by Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme - funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and industry leaders ARUP, ESB, Intel and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

Participation in the primary school competition has doubled since its inaugural year, with over 200 schools submitting over 600 entries to this year’s competition. Eight school teams were shortlisted for this year’s competition final, with the winners announced today at a virtual awards ceremony on Engineers Ireland’s website and YouTube Channel, which also included an Engineering Spectacular show by Mark Langtry, Head of Science and Sport at Explorium.

Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland, commented: “There was an incredibly high calibre of entries submitted by third- and fourth-class pupils to the STEPS Young Engineers Award this year and it was so fantastic to witness each of the student teams’ creativity and innovative project ideas.”

“Many of the core engineering traits and behaviours – curiosity, exploration, creativity, problem-solving and collaboration – overlap with the principles of early childhood education. It is my hope that each of the students who participated in this year’s STEPS Young Engineers Award thoroughly enjoyed this experience and will continue to explore the limitless opportunities a career in the engineering sector can offer.”

Ms Spillane also praised each of the volunteer engineers who visited schools around the country to assist students with their projects: “At Engineers Ireland, our volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation and we are incredibly grateful to the 200 volunteer engineers who visited schools to help students with their projects. I would also like to pay tribute to our volunteers from leading engineering companies, including Arup, TII, Bentley Systems, Tandem and Jacobs Engineering, who assisted with the judging process”.

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland, commented: “I would like to congratulate all the third and fourth-class pupils, teachers and volunteers who participated in this year’s STEPS Young Engineers Award competition, which is proudly supported by Science Foundation Ireland. This competition is designed to give students a taste for the countless possibilities of engineering. We hope they feel inspired to explore STEM subjects further, and perhaps consider a future career in this space.”

Engineers Ireland’s STEPS team is now calling on volunteer engineers and engineering organisations to help make the students’ project ideas become a reality. For more information and to get involved in the STEPS Young Engineers Award, visit: https://www.engineersireland. ie/Schools/Get-involved/Young- Engineers-Award

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