Robots won the day when war broke out at Crawley Civic Hall.
Around 30 children, aged nine to 14, competed in RobotWars, one of a series of Crawley STEMfest events designed to inspire the town’s young people about science, on Thursday (May 29).
Andrew Rogers, from the University of Brighton, who organised RobotWars, said: “There’s always by the end of the day a terrific enthusiasm in what they’ve done. They start to appreciate there’s technology in absolutely everything and people somewhere or other have to think about that.
“Hopefully in the future some of them will want to do that sort of role.”
Children used cardboard, small motors and various bits and pieces to construct their remote-controlled machines.
They pitted about ten robots against each other in a ‘sumo-wrestling match’ - the last bot left on a table was declared the winner. A team of four from Year 8 at Holy Trinity School engineered their robot for strength over speed. Edgar Lynch, 13, said of the team’s chances: “We’re pretty confident if we can get everything to work we can win this.”
A handful of parents attended the event. Guy Suter, 45, of Tilgate, former teacher at Hazelwick School, who attended with his three sons, said STEMfest (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) events were ‘very important’. He added: “You can see how engaged they are. The events take hold of their enthusiasm for something and develop it further.”
Lisa Baker, 41, of Furnace Green, careers co-ordinator at Thomas Bennett Community College, added: “It’s just so wonderful for the children to realise that they get a future in these things.”
Her oldest son Owen, 18, joined her to support his 12-year-old twin brothers, Rhys and Glen in RobotWars.
Owen had applied to study mechanical engineering at the University of Sheffield in September.
Explaining his passion for science, he said: “I like pushing the boundaries of human capability.”
The event was sponsored by Crawley Borough Council.
Lise Sorensen, economic development officer for the council, said: “For us it’s about increasing participation. It’s more Crawley youngsters getting into STEM careers available in the town.”
STEMfest will culminate with the Big Bang Fair South East on July 1.
Before then, a professor from the University of Brighton will hold a lavish celebration of science ‘Scientists of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Test Tubes’ at The Hawth on June 17. And ‘Science Theatre: Is the Future Here Already’ will be at Central Sussex College on June 25.