Reader, they succeeded. The students built their structures and all were seen in final form. Not that there were not some difficulties along the way for some.
The Don Valley Stadium made it look relatively easy in the end, as did the Kingsgate team. The Kingsgaters had staged their anti-nuclear protest the day before and been doused with a bucket of water for their troubles, but seemed to enjoy it. They had been wary of reprisals but their structure escaped unscathed. They made a grand banner to proclaim their achievement and decorated their bridge (next year we must assign fewer students or increase the difficulty level… but it was good management that got them there so fast).
For old-time teachers on Constructionarium, it is sometimes hard to remember that, whilst you have seen a structure built multiple times, your current students have not. Reminding ourselves of this simple truth, the achievements of the students become much greater.
Yes, there has been concern over the inability of some teams (or team managers) to act upon advice.
Yes, there is some concern about teams where they just havent registered how little time they have left for physically attaching hundreds of bits to hundreds of other bits (the latticework of struts between the timber ribs that spring from the steel cleats on the concrete columns rising from the ring-beam of the weather canopy for Naples Airport Tube Station Entrance springs to mind).
It was VIP day at Constructionarium. Great and good and important people came to see whether Imperial’s students were doing something worthy of their attention and support generally and, in particular, on the nuclear engineering project. But it was still a construction day for all of the students. Looking back on it all, it seems that today the teams have swapped positions: the teams that were on track seem to have fallen behind.
How does that happen? How do you go from “in front” to “behind” in a day? It seems that teams that had their bases done and yesterday seemed “ahead”, have turned out to have been ahead because they didnt put any manpower on their other tasks.
Alison Ahearn, Constructionarium lecturer:
There is nothing unusual about field trips with students. There is nothing unusual about quite difficult ones. But doing a construction field trip with 100 novices is always nerve-wracking because construction is an industry where even the experts have a death rate. And since I am one of the few non-engineers on site, it’s much more likely that one of my students could accidently kill me than that I would kill myself. So it is no surprise that we put the students through two full-on days of briefings and training on ways to obey the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”.