PUPILS from Ashbourne's primary schools have been taking part in a design challenge run by engineering firm Rolls Royce.
The Derby-based aerospace firm challenged youngsters to design and construct a siege-engine to throw tennis balls over a 6ft net and to throw the ammunition as far as possible.
Junior pupils from Carsington and Hopton Primary school emerged victorious from the event.
The pupils, aged between nine and 10, beat off stiff competition from 21 other teams to win first prizes for the furthest throw and most economical design.
The children also won second prize overall, plus a £60 donation towards their school. Teacher Alex Scanlon said: "The children are thrilled to have done so well.
"A hands-on challenge like this is a great way to introduce children to science and engineering, and it was great for them to have the opportunity to apply the skills they learn in science and technology in a practical challenge.
"They learned a great deal about working as a team through carrying out real world roles and delivering an on-spec product to a deadline.
"We are all very proud of our budding engineers, taking home prizes and money for the school really is an extra bonus."
The previous day another group of Ashbourne pupils, from Kniveton Primary School, came second in the same competition, which took place over Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8 in Ripley.
The pupils from Kniveton secured their place with a trebuchet which fired soft 'cannon' balls the furthest, and had the lowest cost.
Rolls-Royce engineers run the competition in their own time, with materials and prizes donated by the firm and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Nicola Swaney, from Rolls Royce PLC, said: "Hands-on activities like the Design Challenge are crucial elements in our drive to enthuse young people about science, technology, engineering and Maths.
"This year's challenge was quite complex and the team from Carsington and Hopton designed an efficient and effective siege engine.
"We hope the event has given the pupils experience not only of the design process but of working as a team with both time and budget constraints.
"Rolls-Royce has a target to reach six million people by 2020 with our programmes and activities."
To find out more about the programme, which starts again in 2015, e-mail clare.bewick@Rolls-Royce.com.