Children learn the STEM principles to design and manufacture
How do you build a drag race track?
Westbury Town Council ran workshops over a four day period to teach young people the STEM building principles. The children, ranging from 9 to 15 years old, were given a design brief. Build a drag race track for elastic powered cars of a certain size. Then they had to come up with a plan that fitted the brief limitations. Thinking creatively to come up with, what were in the end, radically different designs.
The teams were given cardboard boxes, loads of tape, supported by volunteer engineer Shona Allman from White Horse Soapbox Derby sponsor Arke LTD. Engineers from the Stem Ambassador program also came in to offer their expertise through the week.
Two teams of students worked away to create their ramps, testing, failing and testing again until they had a ramp capable of hosting a downhill drag race between two elastic powered cars. Then it was time to make the cars and get racing.
Well that was the plan anyway. The truth is another lesson was learned. That in order to go straight it helps to to have more table wheels and an axle without so much friction stopping the wheels. All good things to know before any of the students enter into the automotive industry.
Some cars did work, however, and the race tracks worked well. And, as is now tradition, the students deconstructed their ramps in a creative and rather fun way at the end !
The final day of learning was led by the town council's vent manager Ryan Child, using the donated engineering drawings of a soapbox cart from White Horse CAD, another of the Wiltshire stem event's second year sponsors.
White Horse CAD managing director, Tim Bird, said, “The iconic setting and the variety of soapbox entries and stalls made for a great atmosphere at last year’s event. We are delighted to support the workshops and share our knowledge of CAD. The soapbox cart is a fun project and we hope it will help to enthuse the younger generation about engineering and design.”