Ready, steady go for Bloodhound rocket car challenge

Take off at FVC

Ready, steady go for Bloodhound rocket car challenge

More than 80 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 18 May).

Forming part of the STEM @ The Helix event held on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May, the rocket car challenge has been a popular event held for local pupils over the last couple of years. This year  Falkirk Community Schools Charity  awarded £1,210 to support the event and Chair of the organisation Christine Bell was in attendance.

Forth Valley College students and lecturers will also be taking part in Science Technology, Engineering and Maths events, experiments and workshops at the Helix Park at the event which is a locally led partnership project that celebrates STEM and was developed by Falkirk Community Trust, Falkirk Council and Forth Valley College.

First year school pupils will also take part in a series of interactive workshops, a STEM project and a celebration of their achievements on the Friday, while more hands on projects and interactive workshops were enjoyed by pupils and their families on the Saturday.

And a team from Falkirk High School zoomed to the top of the podium in the bright sunshine, with the fastest speed as their Bloodhound Supersonic Car scorched to 0.87 seconds to cover 15 metres (just over 62kmph)! A second Falkirk High School team tied with a team from Larbert for second with a time of 0.91 second.

The Falkirk High School have now been invited to the final of the event at the Big Bang event on Tuesday 19 June which will this year be held at Forth Valley College’s Falkirk Campus.

Science Lecturer Kerstin Doig also led a workshop on the football field where pupils fired around 60 paper rockets they had made with a compressed air pump. The furthest on the day reaching 28 metres.

Fiona Jackson, Curriculum Manager of FVC’s Applied Science, Maths and Mechanical Engineering Department, said: “It was a really good day and went well. I think all who attended enjoyed themselves. Well done to the .. team for winning, we wish them all the best in the next round and hope to see them back here at the Falkirk Campus for the final on 19 June.”

Kenny MacInnes, Head of FVC’s Department of Applied Science, Maths and Mechanical Engineering, 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.


Pupils assemble
Research is key.
Kerstin directs launch
Engineering at the Helix
Floating your boat
Happy group
STEM to the fore


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