What is the Xperience Engineering Challenge?

Xperience Engineering is a program run by Engineers Ireland for primary schools. The project is divided into 2 categories, 3rd/4th Class and 5th/6th Class. The top 20 projects from each of the categories will be chosen to represent their school at the Xperience Engineering National Final in the Helix in Dublin in June.


This years theme is ‘Engineering a Cleaner World’. We chose to research wave energy, focusing on the prospect of harnessing it in Strandhill. We chose this because

  • It’s a relatively new source of renewable energy
  • It would be good for the west coast
  • It’s local.

Part of the project was getting 6 K’Nex kits in your school for 2 weeks. We had lots of fun with them!




The project runs for 4 months, from December to April. We have had learned lots so far and have put a lot of our project together.

By Oisín S, Emer H & Luke


What is an Oyster?


The action of the waves moves the device up and down. This action activates the pistons causing high pressured water to be pumped to the shore, through an under water pipeline. Onshore hydro-electric generators convert this high pressure water into electricity.

By Shauna, Seán M, Aoife, Carla, Sophie



What is a Pelamis?


This Pelamis is a huge “sea snake” in the water. It generates power in the hinged joints that connect its cylindrical tube sections. As the wave move the joints up and down, and side to side, hydraulical rams drive an electrical generator. The electricity is carried to shore via a sub sea cable. In a Pelamis the pistons move in and out which gives power to the motor, which powers the generator, which in turn sends power via the power cable to our network.


By Shauna, Seán M, Aoife, Carla, Sophie



Micheál O’ Halloran is a mechanical engineer. He came into our classroom and spoke to us about the engineering that is involved in things like Avatar and Grey’s Anatomy.

He told us all about the different engineers that are involved in making a rollercoaster.

He explained to us how a Pelamis works. We learned that there is a motor and a generator inside it. He told us that the movement of the waves cause pistons move in and out, which in turn causes the motor to turn and the generator to work.


He told us that if you want to be an engineer you have to enjoy doing Maths.

By Hannah, Louise, Meadhbh, Sarah & Lucy


We built an Oyster. It is the same shape as a suitcase. It is a wave energy generator. The top of it moves forwards and backwards in the waves. We hooked up the motor and it finally worked.

Our group built an Oyster out of K’Nex for our Steps Xperience Engineering Project. An Oyster is an energy producing product. It moves up and down with the waves. It is set on the seabed close to the shore. We used a motor to get our K’Nex Oyster to move up and down. We had a lot of fun using the K’Nex kits.

We made an Oyster. It is an oceanic device that harvests wave energy when the waves push the lid up and down! This moves pistons in and out, spinning a motor that creates energy. The energy then runs through an underwater cable into a power plant that converts it into electricity that is then used to power our homes!

Our group decided to make an Oyster. An oyster is a machine in the water that is used to generate electricity. Our Oyster was 3-D and we used K’Nex to build it. We really enjoyed using the K’Nex to build out Oyster.

We did a project about wave energy. We got the K’Nex kits on Monday 7th March. For the first day we were allowed to build anything. By the second day we had the choice of building either a Pelamis or an Oyster. We did individual creations at first. Vita built a Pelamis, Shauna and Louise both built Oysters. Later we all took Louise’s plan for an Oyster. It turned out really well. We all love working with K’Nex!!!

We built an Oyster. It is a machine that is built on the sea bed. The moving of the waves cause the top of the Oyster to move in and out, causing two pistons to move in and out. This pushes pressurised water into a small tube. The pressurised water is pumped onshore to a generator which produces electricity. We built a model of this out of K’Nex!

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