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ACCIS CDT students inspire pupils at inner city Academy

14 July 2017

Researchers from the Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS) and EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science (ACCIS CDT) visit inner city academy for a day of rocket powered fun.

On Thursday 6 July Mike Elkington, ACCIS Research Associate (and ACCIS CDT alumnus), and ACCIS CDT students, Jon Alston and Beth Russell, ran a hands-on activity day at City Academy, Bristol designed to introduce its pupils to the exciting world of engineering and get them thinking about where it could take them in the future.

To start off the day, the pupils were tasked with building the tallest tower they could using only 10 sheets of A4 sized paper and Sellotape. Despite these limited resources the winning group’s tower reached an impressive 1.3m!

The main challenge of the day was a rocket building exercise, in which the aim was to propel an egg up into the sky using Estes Solid Fuel rocket motors, achieve the longest possible flight, and then safely return the egg to the ground.

Teams of four pupils were initially tasked with coming up with solutions to six key design challenges, such as 'how will the motor be attached' and 'how will it fly in a straight line'. Once each team had answered all six problems construction could begin in earnest using cardboard, balsa wood and other basic stationery items.

All the pupils then gathered on the school field for the ceremonial launching of the finished rockets. Over half made a successful flight with the rest spiralling out of control around the field, much to amusement of the other teams. The winning team each received a small remote-control quad-copter as a prize.

As well as having fun, throughout the day the pupils learnt about the meaning of 'engineering' and, for those inspired to consider engineering as a future career, some of the available education routes.

Mike said: “I’d like to thank the ACCIS CDT for funding the event, and hope to continue running it as a regular event across Bristol schools.”

City Academy is a mixed secondary school with Academy status, located in the inner city of Bristol. Since becoming subject to special measures in January 2015 it has been working hard to drive up the quality of teaching learning and assessment.


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