St Gregory's Primary School host a STEM day centred around the iconic old tramroad bridge

The pupils spent the day learning about the bridge, maths and STEM careers, as well as having lots of creative fun.

By Aimee Seddon
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:36 pm
St Gregory's Catholic Primary School held a STEM day working on designs for the tramway bridge in Avenham park.
St Gregory's Catholic Primary School held a STEM day working on designs for the tramway bridge in Avenham park.

Yesterday, St Gregory's Primary School in Preston held their half termly STEM day, but this time it featured a special local angle, as the children took part in a bridge design competition for the old tramroad bridge in Avenham Park.

Glenn Cookson from Friends of the Old Tramroad Bridge, and the architect John Bridge from Studio John Bridge, attended the schools' event, both belonging to organizations that are sponsoring the public competition.

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The pupils spent the day learning about the bridge, maths and STEM careers, whilst having lots of creative fun.

Glenn started off the day with an assembly on the bridge's history and closure, explaining his group's mission to reopen the bridge with council funding, whilst the pupils later received design advice from John, who inspired them with ideas and spoke about sustainability.

Pupils also took part in maths activities based around bridges, and had a session with a structural engineer, who talked about his job and set them challenges to build a bridge with paper, straws and cellotape, before the children finally got down to drawing their design entries.

Dee Chamberlain, a teacher at St Gregory's said: "We got an email about the design competition and thought it was quite topical for us, it gave a purpose to our STEM day, and we must say we were blown away by the designs, we were looking at them this morning going 'wow.'

"The children were also just completely blown away, they were so enthused, it was amazing. From the start of the day with the launch by Glenn, they were inspired, and they were just captured by it the whole day, then we summed it up at the end by emphasising the skills that they'd learnt.

During the day, pupils were set a challenge to build a bridge with paper, straws and cellotape.

"Our STEM day also helps keep the bridge conversation alive, because you've now got a whole school of 210 children who are keen and eager to get that bridge going, and they want their design to be the bridge that's built."

Prior to their STEM day, digital leaders from the school- pupils who help out with IT in their classrooms- were also taken on a trip to take some pictures of the bridge, which will then be entered into the bridge's photography competition as well.

Glenn, who will return to the school next week to collect their designs, said: "I was really excited to get involved because I think it's really important to recognise that even the younger generation have got an interest in this 200 year old bridge, and I think that providing them with that history is really important to understand that it's not just a bridge, it's got some real historical significance to Preston and is part of the reason why we were so successful in the Industrial Revolution.

"The day was fantastic, the assembly was to the whole school and all the children's were really engaged, asking lots of questions, and were really excited to get going with the competition. I asked them some interactive questions like how many people had seen the bridge, who knew anything about it, did they know what a bridle bridge was used for in the past, and a lot of the children could answer, which was great to see, and then there were other pupils who had never heard of or seen the bridge before so it was really nice to be able to educate those guys on the tram bridge as well."

The day ended with the children drawing their design bridge designs.

The tramroad bridge design competition, whose winner could see their design being built, is still open, and you can enter it here.

Closing on February 13, the competition will be judged by an independent panel and the first prize winner will also receive a cash price of £1,000, with a range of other prizes for runners-up.

The design competition is open to the wider public, with the winner getting the chance to see their design come to life.
The children had plenty of fun throughout their educational day.
Children from the school will also be entering the photography competition.
The competition closes on February 13.