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Posted: 04.12.13

How Would We Cope In An Energy Crisis? Ask Kyle!

Kyle, whose home is in China, considered the question of ‘How will we cope in an energy crisis?’ During the evening, the audience also heard other presentations which ranged from ‘Is there a link between video games and aggression?’ from Elgan Jones, to ‘The application of French and English Law relating to children’ from Laetitia Tanqueray. The audience also heard from Adeola Odunsi who looked at ‘The Development of Television’, whilst Nan Thomas considered the question ‘Does sport make you happy?’

Head of Christ College, Emma Taylor said: “Each of these projects has involved a very extensive piece of work. The Extended Project Qualification is not for the faint-hearted but successful completion will represent a real sense of purpose and achievement.”

Commenting on Kyle’s project, Mrs Taylor added: “Dealing with such a complex topic in one’s second language cannot be easy, but Kyle did it in a very effective and confident way, particularly when it came to answering the questions from the audience.”

The seeds of his Extended Project Qualification were sown earlier this year when Kyle attended a course to learn about the global energy situation, and the work of materials scientists and engineers as they try to meet global energy demands whilst reducing carbon emissions.

The four day course, hosted by Loughborough University, offered Kyle a unique insight into the materials used in energy and power generation through a series of fascinating lectures, practical workshops and discussions. Kyle and his fellow students participated in several masterclasses which offered them a broad-based view of how energy is produced and stored, and how materials technology is crucial for this. The 16 and 17 year old students were then challenged in their teams to carry out their own research and complete practical laboratory sessions. Research areas included physical properties experiments with materials that present challenges, for example, magnets in generators which entailed using a bicycle to test the effectiveness of different combinations. The course culminated in presentations of the teams’ findings to an “expert” panel, with prizes being offered for different criteria. This project put their team working, communication, and problem-solving skills to the test and involved extensive research, discussion and plenty of creativity to complete.

Students also got to visit a major industrial partner, Rolls Royce, to see materials in action and gain a “real life” insight into careers in the sector. Social activities included a sports night, a campus treasure hunt, and a formal course dinner and quiz.

Martin White, Graduate Development Officer for Loughborough University commented, “This was our first time hosting a Smallpeice residential course and the experience has been a delight. The organisation by The Smallpeice Trust has been excellent and all their supervisory team have been brilliant. Most important are the students like Kyle who have attended the course and we have been so impressed by what they have achieved and how well they have got on together having all been complete strangers when they arrived. The quality of their project work and high standard of questions asked in the masterclasses were impressive and they should all feel very proud of what they have achieved this week.”

Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust Gemma Murphy added, ‘”We are delighted that Loughborough University have partnered with us to run this exciting new ‘Materials for Energy’ course. This course has proved very popular with students like Kyle and has not only offered them a valuable insight into the science behind energy materials but also the global energy situation while demonstrating what a career in this worthwhile sector would entail.”

The Materials for Energy course is organised by independent educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust, and is part of an ongoing programme of residential courses to help young people aged 13 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing. Through running residential courses and STEM enrichment days, The Smallpeice Trust has reached out to over 20,000 students across the UK in the past year.

The new course timetable for 2014 has just been launched. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. To find out more, visit www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk, or telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200.

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