More Than 200 Scottish Pupils Take Part in Quadcopter Challenge
The technology focused competition is part of ongoing efforts to engage pupils from across Scotland in STEM subjects.
More than 200 pupils from schools around Fife and Dundee have this year taken part in Glenrothes Raytheon’s fifth annual Quadcopter Challenge, under the theme of ‘Technology around the World’.
Pupils were tasked with building a fully functioning, four-bladed, multi-rotor, remotely piloted quadcopter – a type of drone.
Ten schools from across Fife participated in the nationwide competition that saw each region across the UK assigned a different country around which to theme their quadcopters. Each team had to compete in a series of complex flying challenges designed to test the speed, agility and accuracy of their quadcopters.
The teams also had to give a ten minute presentation to explain their design process and how they managed their project.
Glenrothes High School was announced as the winner of this year’s regional finals, which were hosted by Fife Auchmuty High School, the previous year’s winner. The winning team of Kian Laing, Aaron McCrae, Oliver Ross and Dylan Napier will now compete in the grand final at RAF Cosford Museum later this month.
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This year’s participating schools from Scotland included Auchmuty High School, Balwearie High School, Beath High School, Glenrothes High School, Glenwood High School, Kirkcaldy High School, Levenmouth Academy, Lochgelly High School, Woodmill High School, and St Andrew’s High School.
STEM ambassadors from Raytheon, a technology company focused on defence, aerospace and cyber intelligence, mentored the teams throughout the competition, visiting schools, hosting workshops and offering advice on how to improve aerodynamics and control of the quadcopters.
The annual competition is open to schools around each of the company’s major UK sites (Broughton, Glenrothes, Waddington, Harlow, Manchester and Gloucester). Last year’s event drew more than 700 students, with six teams advancing to the national competition.
Fife Council’s lead officer for enterprise and business development, Pamela Stevenson, said: “STEM skills are of huge importance to the future prosperity of Fife. The partnership with Raytheon on the Quadcopter Challenge catches students’ imagination and opens their eyes to the possibilities of a career in STEM in a unique way.
“It has been fantastic to see the Quadcopter Challenge go from strength to strength over the past few years and become embedded in the Culture of Enterprise programme. We are looking forward to cheering on our regional winner at the UK finals.”
Raytheon’s Glenrothes’ STEM lead, Stephan Fortune, added: “I’m really proud of how this contest has grown and supported more than 500 pupils across Fife since it started. Unlike many other industry STEM initiatives, the Quadcopter Challenge gives young people an insight into ‘hands-on’ STEM skills. The physical act of building and creating is essential to the learning experience together with presenting their ideas to a panel of judges.
“At Raytheon, we are firm believers in the potential of events like these to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders. By driving interest in STEM careers from an early age, we can help to fill Scotland’s skills gap and drive economic growth for our local, regional and national economies.”