It’s the stuff of nightmares - a vast meteor is hurtling towards planet earth and you’re battling against a rapidly ticking extinction clock to save the world.
But this chilling scenario held no terrors for a team of pupils from Ballymena Academy who remained calm and came up with a scientific solution to the problem.
The team were asked to imagine a radioactive meteorite was about to hit planet earth when they competed in the Rotary International Technology competition at the Big Bang Event at Ulster University Jordanstown tournament.
Sixteen teams from secondary schools across Northern Ireland were challenged to create a device which could disrupt the meteor’s projection and thus save the planet.
The tools in their invention kit included a tennis ball - which would represent the meteor - wood, rubber bands, straws and string. From this ‘Blue Peter’ style collection of everyday objects they were challenged come up with a solution during just one school day.
The Academy team stood out from the crowd by completing a task to design a wooden pulley system able to lift the ball, securely and swiftly.
Made from lengths of timber, the device featured an intricate pulley system which the students had learned the basics of in their Year 10 technology classes.
Seamus Walsh, Rotary ireland Technology Tournament Co-Ordinator and avid supporter of the development of young people and the STEM subjects, said: “This has been a hugely exciting event for Rotary and we are delighted that Rotary Ireland’s Technology Tournament has featured as one of the key competitions at the Big Bang Event.
”I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ballymena Academy and all of the other schools who took part in this fantastic event.”
Each team was assessed by a small panel of Rotarians and industrialists with backgrounds in engineering, technology, enterprise and education who also help to steer the teams by asking pointed questions during the day.
Peter Reid, Technology Teacher at Ballymena Academy was thrilled that his pupils came out on top, speaking at the event he said: “I am immensely proud of our Year Ten pupils who worked so well as a team and have shown that they have the operational and manufacturing skills required to do well in this subject. They produced their project quickly, with efficiency and a real flair for design and on behalf of Ballymena Academy, I congratulate them for their brilliant work in securing first place.”