On Wednesday 22nd June, Rising Stars had the pleasure of sponsoring and attending the Jaguar Maths in Motion Challenge World Final, hosted at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon. Primary and Secondary teams arrived to compete from as far afield as Devon, Glasgow and even Valencia, Spain (the latter two arriving draped in their respective flags).
The Jaguar Maths in Motion Challenge aims to encourage the next generation of engineers by engaging children of all abilities, aged 8 and above, in a virtual motor racing experience. Students work together in small teams and use basic and applied mathematics, science, engineering and problem solving skills to create racing cars and compete in a Grand Prix style tournament. Organised by Brian and Wendy Richardson, this year marked the 16th year of the competition and the challenge has engaged well over 1.5 million young people in over 12 countries.
The day opened with an inspiring speech from Lord Digby-Jones about working hard to achieve greatness from any background and then the children worked intensively on their cars for almost two hours, planning for a circuit they hadn’t seen before- one that was hard on tyre wear and with many tight bends- and planning ahead for the classically unpredictable British weather. At lunch, they had the chance to explore the British Motor Museum, a lovely experience in itself.
Arguably the tensest part of the day came after lunch, the annual Teacher’s Race. All the teachers had submitted their own cars in advance and the children cheered as they watched their teachers experience engine failure or crash out. Kevin O’Donnell from St Patrick’s R.C. Primary School in Stockton-on-Tees took an easy first and was rewarded with the obligatory bottle of champagne.
Finally, the World Final race was run. Brian provided commentary through and the children were clearly so excited to see the product of all their hard work on screen. Impressively, only six cars retired before the end of the race (although there was some seriously questionable driving). Aylesbury Grammar School (Senior Challenge Champions last year) took first, Tunbridge Wells Grammar School second and Butlers Court Primary came third which meant that they retained their Junior Champions title from last year.
St Patrick’s R.C. Primary School (accompanied by the new reigning Teacher’s Race champ Mr O’Donnell) came second out of the Primary Schools and won the £500 of Rising Stars resources, in addition to their very own racing cars. Every competitor was applauded and presented with a Jaguar goody bag.
It was really refreshing to see children so enthusiastic about maths and engineering and to be so animated about something they had started work on in school. The Challenge software can be used to teach maths generally, motivate disaffected pupils or engage more able students and information about training for teachers is provided here.
The final race can also be viewed here and thanks to Brian and Wendy for organising such a wonderful event.