December 14, 2018, Accra, Ghana – Knight Piésold Ghana launched a dam modelling competition, challenging students from four senior high schools in the Greater Accra region to design and physically model a water storage dam. Participating schools included the Armed Forces Senior High Technical School, St. Mary’s Senior High School, Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (Legon), and O’Reilly Senior High School.
The competition is a part of the company’s Schools Initiative Programme (SIP) that aims to educate students from government-assisted senior high schools through practical math, science, and engineering applications. Jeffrey Coffin, regional manager of Knight Piésold Ghana, added that the SIP aims to encourage students to pursue post-secondary education in engineering, particularly in the civil and geotechnical disciplines, while helping them build confidence and take up challenges. Since starting in 2012, the SIP has explored a series of debates, quizzes, and practical design contests, and is continuing to inspire the next generation of engineers.
Held under the theme “Dams: A Hands-on Experience,” the company facilitated its first dam modelling competition, aligning student learning with current engineering demand in response to the Ghanaian government’s “One-Village, One-Dam” initiative to drive agricultural production.
The competition preceded with a workshop held two weeks in advance, in which the students were given a foundation in dam design principles, measurement and scaling, safety, and teamwork. Students were also provided with tools and materials to practice ahead of the contest. “Today, we gave them a new setup to think through and they were expected to use engineering and critical thinking to accomplish the goals of the programme,” said Coffin.
On the competition day, the students exhibited an understanding of the principles taught and came up with various dam model concepts with features, such as key trenches, spillways, riprap armor, benching, and safety berms. The modelled dams were evaluated for their hydraulic containment, with scores awarded for creativity, storage efficiency, technical understanding, and team performance and presentations.
The St. Mary’s Senior High School, an all-girls school, won the competition and was awarded equipment for its science laboratory. Other participating schools were also rewarded for their involvement in the competition.
The company was impressed with the performance exhibited by the students at this year’s competition. It was an altogether productive and fun day, in which knowledge was imparted, passions were ignited, and smiles abounded.