University of Northampton opens doors to sixth formers for holidays

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A select group of sixth-form pupils has spent the summer working on a series of research projects at the University of Northampton.

Four pupils from Northampton and Kettering undertook projects involving robotics, coding and urban orchards after each were awarded a Nuffield Research Placement – a scheme which offers sixth formers the chance to work on university research projects.

David Obreja, from Northampton School for Boys, researched the number of fruit-bearing plants and trees in areas of Northampton, and mapped them on a computer.

He said: “We need more fruit-bearing plants and trees in the town to provide food for wildlife, encourage biodiversity and improve the aesthetics of urban areas.

I hope my research might encourage residents to plant more species, which would also have a social benefit as people may take it up as a hobby. Growing their own produce will also increase their food security.

“The research might also inspire housing developers to consider the mix of planting on their new developments, by including more fruit-bearing plants, rather than planting that is purely architectural.”

Fellow pupil, Nathaniel Roberts, spent his time making a junkbot - a robot made from waste items, such as a drinks can.

He then coded the junkbot to make it move and used his experiences to produce an instruction manual for junkbot beginners.

Nathaniel said: “The project has taught me how to set aims and complete them, and given me an insight into how to write a manual.”