Sink or swim! Students put their boat designs to the test in swimming pool challenge

08:21 08 July 2014

The students

The students' boats are put to the test


Design and engineering skills were put to the test at King’s Ely Senior this week at the school’s recycled raft race.

The students' boats are put to the testThe students' boats are put to the test

Aimed at encouraging Year 9 students to apply their learning in science and technology into practice, the challenge saw 55 students design, construct and race model boats made of recycled materials.

The boats were made of plastic bottles, solar panels and motors and were raced across King’s Ely’s swimming pool.

The students had just three hours in which to design, build and test their model boats in sinks or paddling pools. Tools and basic construction materials including glue, scissors, elastic bands and hooks were also available on the day.

A number of pioneering designs were attempted: rocket boats, remote control boats, sailing boats, wind up propeller boats and even a torpedo boat.

The winner, however, was a serene affair from Elizabeth Hall and Rosie McGrath, which relied on a combination of a rubber band powered propeller and sail. The boat crossed the pool in a time of 2 minutes and 34 seconds.

The prize for the most ambitious design went to Kitty Foster, Margaret Mwangola and Zoe Whelan, whose boat used the airflow from balloons discharged through oboe reed containers.

Best craftsmanship was awarded to Jacob Gamble and Jacob Cave, who used a remote control car on a shaped wooden hull with laser cut paddle wheels, and the most creative use of materials award went to Calum Galbraith, Jack Parry and James Hinton, who adapted an old battery-powered air freshener to power their craft.

Ned Kittoe, head of physics at the school, said: “All pupils learnt something about the processes of design and engineering, and many surprised themselves with what they were able to achieve.”

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