On Monday we visited Beamish, this was surprisingly very interesting as you could clearly see how much technology has changed over the past 100 years. Some of the changes were very significant; this made me think what could engineering and technology be like in the next 100 years? We also did one team based activity during our day at Beamish; this involved using problem-solving skills to assemble a track. It involved a lot of communication between everyone within your team, so it helped us all to communicate and interact with each other. After this we were given a short presentation on the history of beamish, and we were shown two experiments one of them involving a small explosion. The other one was where pollen was carefully poured down a tube onto a naked flame causing the flames to go straight up the tube; these small experiments were both fun and interesting to watch. Later on in the day after lunch, we were allowed to go and explore the rest of Beamish on our own before we went back to the university.
Day two, three and four was spent in Sunderland at the Nissan factory. We went there to do a ‘formula one challenge’, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect before I went, but those three days we spent at Nissan were great. When we first arrived we raced some model formula one cars on the track, which tested your reaction time as you had to press the button at a very specific time. After this, we went into one of the classrooms and worked in pairs on a laptop. We used the Autodesk inventor software to learn how to do the basics such as designing the wheels and the body of a formula one model car; I found this extremely interesting, After we learnt the basics of the software we were split into three groups and we had to design our own car with the hope of being the winner! I personally found the software to be very frustrating at times; little mistakes in your design could mean that you would have to start all over again. For example, our group got to the end of our design but we realised that the body of the car was completely misaligned and we couldn’t correct it and so had to start again. However, when we finally got a finished design we all felt a sense of achievement and I learnt quite a lot in a very short space of time.
On day two at Nissan we got a tour of the factory, I only saw a very small part of the factory as I had to leave early on that day but even just the small amount I seen was really quite amazing – the factory was absolutely huge and very busy.
On the final day at Nissan we got our car designs cut out via a machine, and we got to see 3-D printing in action, as mostly everyone’s wheels were 3-D printed. We also coloured in our cars with highlighters as there was not enough time to spray print them and leave them to dry. We coloured our model in pink and gave it the fabulous name ‘sexy pink’, we then raced our cars on the track which was really fun. Ours was unfortunately the slowest, however it was the heaviest and we felt as though we had accomplished something as it was quite fast for a heavy car model. We ended up changing the wheels to ones with bearings in them which were much smaller and lighter, our car was significantly faster with this small change and we were rather pleased. This concluded our time at Nissan, and I actually really enjoyed being there.
The final day of the week, Friday, we spent at the university doing research on the Nepal earthquake which occurred in April 2015. I liked doing the research and writing it all up, and I found it very interesting and it also enabled me to build upon my current knowledge and understanding of earthquakes and the science behind them. Towards the end of the day we were asked to do a presentation on what we had learned through our research, our group decided to record a video based upon a news report. We included interviews of each of our group members in the news report so that we could all share what we had learned (it was very fun to make and did include a lot of giggling but we got there eventually). After everyone had done their presentations, it was time to go home.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first week at the Summer school and I have learnt loads more than what I initially expected to. I am looking forward to seeing what new things I will learn and experience in week two!