Schools’ Technology Tournament

Young people coming together to find solutions to practical challenges

The challenge

Try solving this:

A train has overturned and a hazardous chemical container is lying on the track. A crane has to be manoeuvred along the track to recover it, but to complicate matters it has to dip under a low bridge on its way in and again on its way back with said container.

Or this:

Power a container from one side of a river to the other using only battery power. Deposit the load on the far bank and create a reverse switch which brings the container back.

Every year we run a Schools’ Technology Tournament in which teams from local schools have a day to solve these kind of problems with nothing more than bits of wood and card, some wheels and gears, magnets, glue, string, drills and saws. The teams have no idea of their task until the tournament begins and their solutions are ingenious.

The challenge combines a number of skills in a fun way. Design and technology skills are be required, together with innovation, communication, problem solving, decision-making, risk taking and creativity, if the goal is to be achieved. Each team also must produce a written design and construction portfolio to show clearly how they arrived at their finished model.

One of our members, Bob Tunnicliffe has developed these tournaments across the country and they are part of our commitment to working with young people.

How it all started

The first Yorkshire Technology Tournament was held in Harrogate in 2002, following a similar initiative in the Home Counties. There are now 12 similar tournaments across Yorkshire, whilst an estimated 4,000 students take part across the country. Corporate member Andy Morrison from Andisa IT has even facilitated a Technology Tournament in a remote upland valley we support in Nepal! 

The local event is organised by the Rotary Clubs of Harrogate Brigantes, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ripon, Ripon Rowels and Lower Wharfedale. Teams of students aged 11-18 years, from 12 schools in Harrogate and neighbouring areas, go head-to-head in a one-day event, to test their logistical and practical skills in this annual tournament.

Technology Tournament 2024

Launching a space capsule and ensuring it parachutes successfully into a target area might sound a tall order at the best of times. But coming to it cold, understanding what needs to be done, working out how to use the materials provided, then making and testing it all in the space of a few hours was the challenge facing students from seven local schools in 29 teams in the 2024 Harrogate Rotary Technology Tournament at St Aidan’s C of E School.

The winners at Foundation Level were Rossett School, at Intermediate Level Harrogate Grammar School and at Advanced Level St Aidan’s C of E School. The awards were presented by Harrogate RC President Mervyn Darby and Bill O’Rourke, President of Brigantes gave a vote of thanks.

Particular thanks are due to Bob Tunnicliffe for his meticulous organisation, to all Rotarians and others who helped on the day and to all the teachers and students who attended.  It was a superb event and a wonderful advert for Rotary.

Getting involved

If you or your business would like to support the tournament, either via sponsorship or donations of raw materials, or during the planning stages, please get in touch

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