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Amazon announces winners of Cambridgeshire schools 'Design a Drone' competition - and Monkfield Park Primary is flying high


By Paul Brackley


Pupils, from left, Nithyan, Lauren and Olli at Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, with their winning drones. Back, from left, Cambridgeshire County Council chief executive Gillian Beasley, Jonathan Nicholson, of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Lauren Kisser, of Amazon Prime Air, and headteacher Sarah Jarman with the schools science leader Rebecca Wellings
Pupils, from left, Nithyan, Lauren and Olli at Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, with their winning drones. Back, from left, Cambridgeshire County Council chief executive Gillian Beasley, Jonathan Nicholson, of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Lauren Kisser, of Amazon Prime Air, and headteacher Sarah Jarman with the schools science leader Rebecca Wellings

The future of technology in Cambridgeshire would appear to be in safe hands after pupils demonstrated great creativity and ingenuity with their entries to Amazon's inaugural Design a Drone competition.

Lauren, a pupil at Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, with her winning model from the Amazon design a drone competition. Back, from left, Gllian Beasley, Cambridgeshire County Council, chief executive, Jonathan Nicholson, of the UK CAA, and headteacher Sarah Jarman
Lauren, a pupil at Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, with her winning model from the Amazon design a drone competition. Back, from left, Gllian Beasley, Cambridgeshire County Council, chief executive, Jonathan Nicholson, of the UK CAA, and headteacher Sarah Jarman

Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne scooped the first, second and third places in the building category, which tasked pupils with creating models of delivery drones using everyday materials.

The school won £3,500, which it will spend on science and technology equipment, while the winning pupils went home with gift baskets of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) prizes.

Year 2 pupil Lauren, 6, claimed top spot with a ‘Busy Bee’ drone that she hopes will deliver toys to children who don’t have any. She took home £300 worth of Amazon goods which included books, games, equipment and a tablet computer.

In second place was Olli, 6, who created the ‘Fin 100’ drone, complete with a remote control, to deliver his favourite foods - egg on toast and pizza.

Olli, 6, a pupil at Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, with his Fin 100 model, which came second in the Amazon Design a Drone competition
Olli, 6, a pupil at Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, with his Fin 100 model, which came second in the Amazon Design a Drone competition

Third place went to Nithyan, 10, for a first aid delivery drone that could carry vital supplies and a mobile phone to people stuck up mountains or in other perilous situations.

Olli and Nithyan took home prizes worth £100.

In the drawing category, Year 4 pupil Kyla, of Ditton Lodge Primary School, came first with her V.E.T (Veterinary Emergency Transport) drone, while 8-year-olds Thomas and Tayla from Earith Primary School came in second and third respectively for their ‘Stunting Scouts’ and ‘Colourful Copy’ drone drawings.

Amazon is testing its drone technology in the Cambridgeshire countryside and the first places winners will get to tour the company’s Prime Air’s Development Centre in Cambridge, where their creations will go on display for a month.

Nithyam, 10, a pupil at Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, collects his Design a Drone competition prize from Amazon Prime Airs Lauren Kisser, left, and Cambridgeshire County Council chief exectutive Gillian Beasley
Nithyam, 10, a pupil at Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, collects his Design a Drone competition prize from Amazon Prime Airs Lauren Kisser, left, and Cambridgeshire County Council chief exectutive Gillian Beasley

Prime Air is Amazon’s future delivery system, designed to deliver parcels of up to five pounds in weight to customers in 30 minutes or less using small drones.

Lauren Kisser, operations director at Amazon Prime Air, said: “We developed this competition to encourage students and teachers to think about science and drones in a different way. Just as Prime Air will make shopping greener, safer and easier than driving to the store, the winners of this competition were able to harness this technology for wider social good with drones delivering pet care, first aid and charity donations.

“The judges worked hard on selecting the winning submissions, and we’re really pleased with the results.”

Prizes were presented to pupils at Monkfield Park Primary at an assembly before almost the entire school.

Year 2 pupil Lauren, of Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, with the model that won her first place in the building category of Amazons Design a Drone competition
Year 2 pupil Lauren, of Monkfield Park Primary School in Cambourne, with the model that won her first place in the building category of Amazons Design a Drone competition

Headteacher Sarah Jarman said only three entries from each year group could be submitted to the judges, so the school was amazed to win the top three prizes for their models.

She told the Cambridge Independent: “This has been a great opportunity for the children at Monkfield Park to play an active part in shaping the future of science and technology. The competition has been so inclusive, as everybody was able to contribute their own ideas to it and the families really got behind the children on this one. We’d like to thank Amazon for their donation to the school and for providing the children with a real reason to use their creative flair.”

Gillian Beasley, chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council, and one of the judges, added: “The standard of entries and the creativity shown is testament to the imagination of primary school students in the county.

“It was a fantastic competition to judge and the selected winning entries showed a real engagement with using science to create.

“I hope this will act as inspiration for students in the future.”

Cambridge mayor Jeremy Benstead, Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert, Jonathan Nicholson, assistant director of corporate communications at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, and David Hardcastle, of Amazon UK, also helped to judge the contest, which attracted nearly 500 entries. The winners were chosen for their creativity, application of science and the benefit the drone would bring to society.

Speaking at Monkfield Park Primary School on Thursday, Mr Nicholson said there had been a “fantastic set of entries”.

“When they came through to look at, we just said ‘Wow!’ These are kids who have really thought about this - they put a lot of effort in and were imaginative and pushed the boundaries,” he said.

The competition was part of the Amazon in the Community programme, helping children to succeed in today’s digital society and develop essential STEM skills.



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