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Reach Out does Engineering Challenge

We welcomed 11 school teams for a fun-filled Engineering Challenge on Thursday 13th February. The aim of this challenge was for teams to design a fully-functional table tennis ball launching machine, developing their design and technology skills, problem-solving and team work.
Teams designed their products around limited resources and with a tight budget of 150 Faraday pounds. All items used in the manufacture of their machines could be purchased from our NGHSshop which included MDF, elastic bands, plastic tubing and parcel tape.
With the help of NGHS subject scholars, schools came up with some impressive ball launchers. Congratulations to St Ann’s Well Academy who particularly impressed us with their adjustable catapult mechanism.


Design and build table tennis ball launchers

Develop creative thinking

Develop design and technology skills

Develop Problem-solving

Encourage positive team working


Resources included precut MDF, plastic tubing, elastic bands, cardboard and more.

Children could purchase their resources from a small budget of £150 which included equipment and charges for the use of glue guns and technician support (for cutting and drilling).


Feedback from the children included “Although we spent all of our money on resources we didn’t need, we managed to still build something that worked.”

“It was really fun and working to a budget was a real challenge.”

Attending staff commented “The children collaborated on the overall design, supported each other with adaptations and listened carefully to each other when discussing problems they encountered during the design and make process. The children overcame difficulties and realised that it's important to be resilient and find ways to tackle the issues and move forward.”

Pupil Involvement

66 pupils made up of boys and girls of mixed ability.

12 x NGHS subject ambassadors for DT, Physics and Maths Year 7 – 10.




Engineering Challenge is part of Reach Out's ongoing programme open to all schools.