As a Design & Technology teacher with 23 years of classroom experience, I fear we are losing sight of THE ELEMENT in our young students. This is what Sir Ken Robinson refers to (in his book THE ELEMENT; HOW FINDING YOUR PASSION CHANGES EVERYTHING) as the place where the things we love to do, and the things we are good at come together.
Far too often I have seen the creative instinct in many students squeezed out firstly by other subjects deemed 'more important, and secondly by the demands of a restrictive curriculum simply aimed at a rote-learned examination.
The F1 in Schools Challenge is unique.
I have seen it turn on the creative light in students so often it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Here in the UAE we have barely completed our 1st year since the project arrived in Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit. We are about to send teams to our 2nd World Championships, have already secured three world awards (including 2nd overall in 2010) and have over 100 schools registered and 82 currently active teams. This is not entirely of our own making, I believe it is because wherever we go, whatever school assembly we give, I look out and see the creative light coming on in young minds and that smile appear across faces which says “at last, I have found a project which will allow me to find my own 'element'”.
Regardless I have never experienced a project which cuts across so may areas of the school curriculum. Science, Technology, Design and Manufacturing are clearly obvious. But what about the life-skills of organisation, teamwork, meeting deadlines, responsibility to others and verbal presentation skills? These are skills our young people will need for the rest of their lives and are also an important part of being successful with the F1 in Schools Challenge.
The Bloodhound deregulated class gives students who choose to take part even more opportunity to express their creative imagination. It throws off the constraints of the F1 Class car and allows for that creative instinct to run wild. The same creative instinct that allowed my 4year old children to make imaginary robots from cardboard boxes, which wake you up in the morning and bring you breakfast!
It is simply about the fastest car. The other components of presentation, branding, sponsorship and portfolio are not required. Let your creative and innovative juices flow!!!! Innovation and performance are at the heart of this challenge, and again, play a vital part in all aspects of the challenge should students wish to progress through the other classes of competition over a longer time span.
For Goodwood Festival of Speed we plan to open up the event to all ages (Dads included!) but we wont have time to handle the presentations and displays -its simply about the fastest car !
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