Borders College

Stow pupils experience rocket cars and virtual reality

Stow Primary School’s ‘Science Fortnight’ recently welcomed staff from Borders College’s Engineering and ISLT teams, who hosted interactive STEM workshops for over sixty P1-7 pupils.

Launch of pupils' rocket cars at Stow Primary School's Science Fortnight

Science fortnight, this year with a particular focus on ‘World of Work’, welcomed various exhibitors with an involvement in STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics), including Farmers, RAF personnel, and even Microbiologists, to talk to the pupils about their line of work and introduce them to potential new interests through engaging activities.

Stow Primary pupils sampling virtual reality headsetsFraser Wight (Head of Information Services and Learning Technology at the College) and team members Conor Bradley, Helen McNeill and Michael Kidd, offered 15 minute activities, allowing the pupils to sample a range of technologies.  Activities included an augmented reality experience using VR headsets, a chance to operate programmable robot ‘Dash’, and coding for beginners.

Meanwhile, Engineering Lecturers and BloodHound ‘Rocketeers’ Dave Black and Dale Clancy were on hand, supported by NC Fabrication and Welding students Connor Hendry and Callum Cairns, to provide an exciting rocket car challenge for the pupils, something they really got stuck into.

Stow Primary pupils creating their rocket carThe pupils attended three 45 minute workshops where they carried out the various stages of the rocket car activity – the design, manufacture and launch of their rocket cars.  Dave and Dale both commented on how well the pupils supported each other, with senior pupils helping out the younger pupils, all working together to complete their workbooks and keep a log of their activities.  They were also pleased to see pupils mixing well – the winning rocket car, ‘Speedy’, was the product of a male and female team (Meghan, Jake, Connor and Thalia) whose top speed was 78mph.  Second and third places came in at a respectable 68mph and 61mph, an impressive speed range for such young engineers.

Dale said:

“The pupils noticed and commented on the drag of the race cars and how their weight affected their speed, and they all got into discussion at the end review.  Seeing the process through from start to finish was very rewarding for them.  All the school staff got involved and our students, Connor and Callum, gained some ideas of their own for their ‘Design and Manufacture’ unit at College.”

Dave, Dale and the ISLT team have been involved in promoting STEM in education for several years now, bringing their workshop activities into schools across the Borders, at both primary and secondary level.  They all felt that the Stow Primary pupils engaged well and were very focused, coming away from their day with a true enthusiasm for STEM.




Published: Fri 17th Nov, 2017