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F5 Pupil Programming Simulators To Replace Russian Sites

F5 Pupil Programming Simulators To Replace Russian Sites. Pupils sitting down in class room at desk with computer looking joyful.

An HSD pupil could help students across Scotland study Engineering Science after designing a series of programmes to replace those made inaccessible by the war in Ukraine.

George Li, the F5 pupil who designed the new simulators.
F5 pupil George Li has coded four simulators to help students learn part of the Higher Engineering Science course – despite not studying the subject himself.

As part of their course, pupils are expected to analyse forces and then use a simulator to check their calculations. However, these simulators were blocked after the invasion of Ukraine as they’re hosted on a Russian site.

Some of the simulators have since been made available, but restrictions on web traffic to Russia have dramatically decreased their performance.

Having been made aware of the issue by the Physics and Engineering Science Department, Head of Computing Scott McBride approached 16-year-old George to ask if he’d like to get involved in developing a simulation to allow pupils to overcome this problem.

Keen to help, the coding expert armed himself with the required subject knowledge by learning Higher Engineering content with Head of Physics and Engineering Science, Jamie Darby, during lunchtimes.

After acquiring the know-how to analyse forces on beams, George designed and coded a simulator to replace the one hosted in Russia.

Eager to do even more, George then undertook another two weeks’ worth of Higher Engineering Science learning (again, in his and Mr Darby’s own time) so that he could design and code a further two of the simulations.

But he wasn’t done there! A further week’s worth of Higher learning gave him the basis to design a simulator for checking calculations in the fourth and final context – nodal analysis; a task that involved complex problem solving, difficult mathematics, and a combination of challenging engineering science and coding.

George is now making final adjustments to his programs, packaging together all four simulations into one bundle which he will then hand over to Jamie Darby.

George explains more: “Mr McBride asked me if it was something that I’d be interested in getting involved in and it seemed like it would be fun and useful for other pupils so I said yes.

“I enjoy Physics but I’ve never done Engineering Science. But, for me the theory wasn’t too different – working out how a structure would react to a force, and calculating the force. It’s doing similar things but in a different context.

“I’m not sure if Mr Darby expected me to be able to do it but he was very helpful working with me to give me feedback and ideas about adjustments to make.

“I didn’t realise how much it would involve. I thought it might just be a small project for over the school holidays, but it turned into more! I would absolutely do it again though. I’ve enjoyed it; I’ve learned new skills and it will help other students, which was really important to me.”

As well as learning some of the Engineering Science curriculum, George also had to augment his own coding knowledge in order to complete the design of the simulations.

“I already knew how to use Javascript, but I had to learn React in order to be able to use Next.JS, which is the code I used for the simulations.”

Mr Darby, who has awarded George a merit in recognition of his efforts, is no doubt about the value of what George has produced and the School is now exploring the possibility of making George’s simulators available to other schools.

He said: “What George has come up with is massively helpful in delivering the Higher Engineering course.

“The result is an incredibly user-friendly interface, that will be of great benefit to our pupils in their coursework.

“These simulations simply do not exist elsewhere. George has produced a resource that I believe would be of benefit to pupils across Scotland.”

Rector Lise Hudson said: “I was delighted to meet George and thank him for his hard work and initiative, which he has put to use helping his fellow pupils.

“We’re incredibly proud of the time and effort which has gone into this project and we’re excited to see what George goes on to do next.”

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