July 18 2013 | Views: 2724
Kent and Medway
Months of hard work came to fruition for Year 7 and 8 students at Simon Langton Boys School in Canterbury this week when they successfully launched their homemade rockets into the ether....and back to terra firma. Thanks to Pfizer funding, the school was able to buy the equipment required to launch the rockets and Don Clark, a Kent & Medway STEM Ambassador and one of Pfizer’s academic ambassadors, went along to watch the spectacle.
The challenge was to use a rocket to deploy a quail’s egg into space and return it back to earth in one piece. Having made their rockets out of everyday items such as kitchen rolls and polythene bags, the boys who took on the challenge, completed all the work in their own time, working in either pairs, individually or in teams.
STEM Ambassador Don explained: “Prior to the launch, the boys had to think about how they were going to build their rockets such as what sort of fins they were going to put on them for stability and how they were going to pack the payload. They also did some calculations to work out the amount of thrust the motors would generate and the potential heights their rockets would achieve. With the encouragement of their teacher Faye Thorndycroft, they did all of this work in their own time off their own backs.”
Using two phase motors, the first charge involved the fuel being used to send the rockets skywards, while the second charge blew the cones off the top of the rockets and deployed a parachute to bring them back down to earth. Don said: “All 10 rockets went up with different degrees of success. The winning rocket reached a height of 260ft but they ranged from 180ft”. Year 7 students Ben Wellard and Owen Williams were the overall winners.
The funding provided by Pfizer allowed the school to buy the expensive pieces of equipment required, such as the launch pad and an altimeter, which is used to measure the height achieved by the rockets: “This means that the project is sustainable so the school will be able to run the challenge for many years at minimal further cost”, said Don.
With teacher Faye Thorndycroft set to move to Norwich, she has vowed to carry on the challenge at her new school and make it into a competition between the two. Watch this space...
Pfizer’s academic team works with students and teachers within the local school community, running various activities and supporting STEM and scientific events such as the Science Jamboree and TeenTech; as well as facilitating visits to the Sandwich site. They also, have a small budget to fund science extension/enrichment activities. To find out more, or if you would like to join the academic team, visit the Academic & Community team information site.