Mosslands takes off!
STEM ambitions take off as Smallpeice Trust visits Mosslands!
Over 60 Year 7 students took part in an exclusive STEM event on Wednesday 24th January as The Smallpeice Trust and the RAF Charitable Trust landed at Mosslands.
Students began the day by watching an intriguing presentation featuring many topics including careers in engineering, how science benefits our lives, aeronautical physics and aerofoil design.
The boys, grouped in teams of six, were then tasked with designing, building, marketing and testing their own aircraft, with a winning team being declared at the end of the day.
The first stage of the design process saw Mosslands young engineers researching different types of wings, weighing up the costs and benefits of each variant and building a prototype aircraft. out of a straw and sheets of paper. Test flights were then used to refine their models with design specifications parameters including flight length and profiles, used as major markers.
Once each team was happy with their final prototype, construction began on balsawood models. Teams appointed members as designers, construction engineers, electrical engineers, marketers and accountants and began working on their final aircraft, which featured electrical propulsion systems, horizontal and vertical stabilisers and weight-distribution systems. Teams also had to ensure their aircraft had an eye-catching livery, with consideration also given to the most cost construction model and the all-encompassing marketing package.
When construction was complete, each team had to present their aircraft to the other students and the judging panel, trying to convince the audience that their aircraft was the best. Team marketing executives came up with memorable slogans including, “Remember – if one of our planes crashes, it’s the pilot, not the plane!” while another team claimed that their aircraft ran on nothing but air! (A design engineer was heard to remark, “I’ve not made that claim, it was the marketing team. They make up all sorts of rubbish!”)
Marketing presentations were complete, the teams took to the schoolyard to test their aircraft. With aircraft flying for up to 8 metres, the competition was fierce as the judges retired to make their decision.
After much deliberation, a winning team was chosen and the results were announced to the expectant crowd. The scenes were jubilant as Team 10 Daniel, Leo-James, Riley, Alfie and Oscar 7R1 were declared the winners.
After the celebrations died down, students were full of enthusiasm for the day they’d experienced. Tom 7R2 said, “I thought the day was really interesting and I learned a lot from the slideshow. The day has improved my confidence and teamwork. I want to go into automotive engineering when I’m older. I’d love to work for Mercedes!”
Zak 7G2 remarked, “It was very great fun. I think everybody should have the opportunity to get involved with STEM events. Today has made me want to work in aeronautical engineering when I’m older.”
Daniel 7F1 “ It was really good because it was something new and I realised engineering is actually really fun and creative.”
Max 7F1 “It was very enjoyable because I had to use my imagination and I had lots of fun. Although I do want to be an engineer it was nice to learn about it”
Joseph 7R1 “ I really enjoyed it because I have always had a passion for engineering and really enjoyed the challenge”
Oscar 7R1 “It was amazing watching the glider sore through the air, it was worth all the hard work”
Smallpeice Aircraft Challenge high-flying winning team of
Daniel, Leo-James, Riley, Alfie and Oscar 7R1
Leading the day was Lynne from The Smallpeice Trust. She commented, “Engineering is in everything we do and days like today help engage young people by teaching new skills through familiar concepts. This helps to drive home the importance of STEM in everyday life. The students today have learned new skill sets, they’ve found out about careers in STEM-focused industries, they’ve improved their teamwork and developed their critical thinking skills.
The students here have been a really lovely bunch. The boys were engaged, polite, confident and had a real willingness to learn.”
Mosslands would like to thank Lynne and The Smallpeice Trust for running the day and the RAF Charitable Trust who sponsored the event