Team’s design work engineers success

The winning team from Paulsgrove Primary: (L-r) Ashraf Hussain, Mason Clements, George McGowan and George Potter, all aged 10
The winning team from Paulsgrove Primary: (L-r) Ashraf Hussain, Mason Clements, George McGowan and George Potter, all aged 10
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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Good teamwork and top maths skills led a team of primary schoolchildren to a towering victory at an engineering competition.

Ten-year-olds Mason Clements, George McGowan, George Potter and Ashraf Hussain, of Paulsgrove Primary, beat nine teams from schools across Portsmouth to claim first prize for City of Portsmouth Boys’ tower building competition.

Youngsters from Paulsgrove, Highbury, Flying Bull, Medina primaries and Court Lane Juniors were tasked with creating a metre-high tower using paper straws to carry the weight of at least one egg.

But Paulsgrove’s ‘Mathstastic’ team managed a 1m 88cm structure that held four eggs in a small basket perched on top – but could have taken the weight of a dozen.

Mason says: ‘We were quietly confident as we’re all in the top set in maths and there were lots of calculations involved, to work out like areas, perimeters and lengths.

‘It was so much fun and we’re really pleased with what we achieved.’

George McGowan says: ‘I didn’t realise we’d do so well at first. I thought building a tower that was 1m in height was going to be very hard.

‘But we had a good team and Ashraf is an amazing mathematician, which helped!

‘Our model was designed a bit like the Eiffel Tower, with lots of triangles to make it strong.’

He adds: ‘We worked well as a team. This competition showed us that if you put your mind to something and work through it logically, you can solve any problem.’

The challenge was just one of several challenges and roadshows held by City Boys, which boasts engineering and maths specialist status, to encourage budding scientists.

John Francis, director of specialisms, oversaw the challenge which kicked off with workshops on different tower building techniques.

He says: ‘There were a few eggs that smashed on the day! It was great fun and Paulsgrove’s tower was fantastic.

‘This is all about promoting engineering – it’s a massive shortage area in the UK.

‘All the pupils who took part have potential to do great things. They all showed excellent teamwork, logic and leadership too when they made their presentations.

Proud Paulsgrove head Andrew Olive adds: ‘What our pupils ended up with is quite an impressive structure which is still standing!

‘They are all into their maths and science at school and have what it takes to be first-class engineers.’