We were very fortunate to be able to take a small group of KS3 pupils to the University Of West of England for the day to take part in the Bloodhound Education Programme that is currently touring the UK. BLOODHOUND SSC is a unique; high-technology project to design and build a car that will hopefully break the 1,000mph barrier and set a new world land speed record. Designed and constructed in the UK, BLOODHOUND SSC includes components and sponsorship from international companies and will make its record attempt in South Africa later this year.
During the course of the day pupils had the opportunity to hear from the team about how the programme had evolved, how the car had been tried and tested and the rigorous preparations both the driver and car had been through to ensure that the land speed record would return to Great Britain.
Pupils attended interactive STEM workshops to gain a better understanding about the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths required to pull off a project such as this.
The first workshop was K’Nex Cars – Here pupils had to divide themselves into teams to design, test and build their own K’Nex Car. The brief was to make it travel as fast as they could down a purpose built race track. Pupils had to work as a team making important decisions about the size and shape of the car and how many and what size wheels to use. They also had to work through how they would secure the rocket that would power the car down the track. Pupils had an opportunity to test the cars before the final race, this was an opportunity to iron out any errors and put right any design faults. Then it was time for the big race, the overall group winner from the day would get to have their names put on the tail of the car, so the stakes were high and everyone wanted to win! Our Y7 team came second, which is good, just not quite good enough… they did get some nice posters though!
DynaKars was our second workshop of the day. BLOODHOUND SSC will have over 400 sensors on board to transmit live data on the performance of the car to the team of engineers during a run. This data tracking is known as Telemetry. Pupils were introduced to telemetry using DynaKars (a model car with an internal axle rotation sensor, which is programmed so the on board sensor transmits its data via Bluetooth to a computer loaded with the partner software) Pupils were able to see how live data from their cars was displayed on the computer screens in a graphical format. They were then able to investigate how the movement of the car changes how their graphs looked when the conditions were altered.
BLOODHOUND SSC – Tour & Explore
Our final workshop was an opportunity to find out about the car itself. Pupils were introduced to the life size model of the car. They then had a guided tour of the car where the team explained about the components, the design and described in detail the science involved in creating a 1,000mph car. They also had a go in the BLOODHOUND SSC simulator where they were given a better insight into the shockwaves, friction, reaction times and combustion involved in driving such a high powered car.