STEM success

Ambition and perseverance drives students to the F1 in Schools Finals

Doha British School, Qatar

IB Diploma Programme students from Doha British School, Qatar, were in high spirits when they returned from the F1 in Schools World Finals 2014, held in Abu Dhabi. Describing their experience as “absolutely phenomenal”, the team designed and created a miniature Formula 1 (F1) car, as part of their CAS activity, using 3D solid modeling software and computer-aided manufacturing.

They then raced the car at Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the F1 in Schools World Finals.

The team, Vortex Racing, won the national stages and competed against 37 teams from 24 countries for the world champion title. IB Coordinator Emma Tully says: “The students were absolutely buzzing about the entire experience. They were so enthusiastic to be at the F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, and competing against other schools to see how they would perform.”

Although Vortex Racing didn’t win, it was a fantastic opportunity to represent their country and learn lifelong skills such as organization, leadership and teamwork. Team leader Anastasiya Unnikrishnan says: “To represent Qatar at the World Finals has been an overwhelming experience.

A lot of personal challenges have been met and the activities have enabled us to gain valuable life skills. From the very beginning of the planning stages to the end evaluation, the competition has given us opportunities to develop skills we never knew we had.” It was Head of Design and Technology Kevin Bloomer’s idea to get the students more involved in STEM.

The F1 challenge not only honed their mathematics and science skills, but also developed their business acumen, as students worked hard to secure their competition entry fee and travel expenses. They raised over £10,000 in sponsorship through various fundraising activities.

“They showed perseverance and commitment throughout,” says Emma. “It was a fantastic experience for the students,” adds Kevin. “The prestige of the competition is amazing. Many students now want to take this further and pursue a career in engineering.”

Emma and the students have big plans for this year. Vortex Racing will mentor the 2015 team, as well as sit on the national stages’ judging panel.