College involvement in STEM @ The Helix

Rocket Cars

College involvement in STEM @ The Helix

Pupils from Falkirk’s eight high schools launched themselves enthusiastically into an innovative rocket car time trial heat at Forth Valley College’s Falkirk Campus recently (Friday 17 May).

Forming part of the STEM @ The Helix event held on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May, the rocket car challenge has been a popular event held for local pupils over the last few years.

Forth Valley College students and lecturers (from Engineering, Science and Construction) took part in Science Technology, Engineering and Maths events, experiments and workshops surrounding the ‘Bloodhound  Challenge’ to support the Helix Park event, which is a locally led partnership project that celebrates STEM and was developed by Falkirk Community Trust, Falkirk Council and Forth Valley College.

STEM@The Helix is a free event, and part of Falkirk's Science Festival, which has just started this year. It is filled with interactive workshops, experiments and insights. It celebrates young minds and encourages Scots, visitors and families alike to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths. The Helix will be transformed into a hub of discovery with a full programme of activity taking place across the park.

This year Balfour Beatty - who are currently building the new FVC Falkirk Campus – and Construction Scotland are actively involved in supporting the events.

And at the FVC Falkirk Campus on Friday, a team from Bo’ness Academy zoomed to the top of the podium in the bright sunshine with the fastest speed followed closely by Graham High School.

A workshop was also held in the College grounds where pupils fired paper rockets they had made in their morning workshops, using a compressed air pump.

Fiona Jackson, Curriculum Manager of FVC’s  Department of Engineering and Science, said: “It was a really good day and went well. I think all who attended enjoyed themselves. Well done to the Bo’ness team for winning, we wish them all the best in the next round.

Kenny MacInnes, Head of FVC’s Department of Engineering and Science said: “I am delighted with how well attended these events have been. The interest in the Bloodhound Rocket Car Challenge and the rocket making and the other STEM @ The Helix workshops has been brilliant and we are hoping this will inspire youngsters to find out more about the STEM subjects on offer here at the college.”

As well as workshops to create, modify and complete their cars in the Falkirk Campus Main hall, FVC put on several other science, engineering and health and well-being activities to raise interest in the range of courses on offer at the college.

Bloodhound SuperSonic Cars - built in the UK by a team of Formula 1 and aerospace experts – were distributed throughout Falkirk area schools by FVC’s Applied Science, Maths and Mechanical Engineering Department.

The aim was to inspire kids about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM subjects) with a challenge – battling physics and a journey to the unknown - to get their cars to reach 1,000 mph. Other activities for those attending to take part in on the day in the Main Hall included:

The Bloodhound Model Rocket Car Challenge is a global competition backed by Guinness World Records, inviting teams of school children and youth clubs to set their own records by building and racing model rocket cars across their playgrounds and into the record books.

The project has teamed up with Microsoft to develop the car programme to integrate micro:bit technology into the car design. The British Army and the Dendrite Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise award are also backers of the initiative.

It is hoped teachers and students can access research, design and testing of their supersonic jet and rocket powered car and through this project young people can learn about: Newton’s Laws, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Teamwork, Time, Keeping, Engineering and Computing.

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