1 Apr 2016
CDT Students run STEM Day
Wycliffe Pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5 thoroughly enjoyed a day of exploration, focussing on STEM related activities, incorporating elements across Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The day was masterminded and run by a group of PhD students from Loughborough, Cambridge and Oxford Universities. The day began with an introduction in the Studio Theatre, where the PhD pupils gave a presentation to introduce the day's two main activities of rocket building and windmill design, which would each have a half a day focus. Following this, the pupils were sent off in their groups to explore the various elements of each of the activities, where design, innovation and teamwork were shown in equal measure.
The rocket activity tasked the pupils with designing and building a rocket that would launch successfully, complete with a parachute system that would carry the astronaut (a raw egg) back to earth safely. The pupils worked through the three workstations in the design and build phases, before heading outside for the main event, the launch phase. Each launch brought a great deal of excitement, complete with countdown, as pupils watched in hope and amazement as their rocket flew skyward at great speed, before falling back to earth gracefully, and not so gracefully in some cases. Although the life of the rocket was short, this brought about the greatest anticipation of the day, as each group carefully un-wrapped their rocket to see whether the astronaut egg had survived the landing or not.
The windmill activity involved a variety of tasks based around aerodynamics and heat transfer, showing what happens to heat and air as they pass around different objects. Amongst the tasks, pupils used an infra-red camera to look more closely at heat transfer, used the latest technology on iPads that included Augmented Reality, which brought a picture of a 2D Rolls Royce engine to life as a 3D vision, as well as gaining a visual of how air is affected by aerodynamics. Pupils also spent time looking at an air foil demo in a wind tunnel, and learned how electricity is created from such a system, before each group designed their own windmill that was then tested within the wind tunnel in a bid to see which windmill could create the greatest voltage.
The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The pupils and staff were very appreciative of the excellent day organised by the PhD students, who had voluntarily taken time out of their studies to provide a wonderful experience for our pupils.