The journey to the trial and testing of their speedy, safe cars has been a long and exciting one for the Year 7 STEAM students.
Stage one was finding out about forces that can slow down vehicles and how aerodynamic design can reduce friction.
Stage two was learning about forces and how to disperse the energy during a collision.
Stage three was working with a team to design a vehicle that could be both speedy and safe, sufficient to protect the egg driver from a run down an eight-metre ramp and collision with the solid wall built into the end of the track.
Stage four was to build and test the design.
The challenge called on our students to create a car that could respond to a complex challenge and the designs were often highly creative.
In this sort of problem-based learning, there is a lot of testing, reviewing, adjusting and rebuilding. Yes, it can be frustrating, but it can also be enormously gratifying when problems are overcome.
We are now at the stage of final trials, and each group is preparing their report. This involves the timing and videoing of each car, as well as explaining each group’s journey.
It has been an enormous learning curve for the students. They have learnt scientific concepts and how to apply them to a practical task. They have learnt to work as a team and to use the specific skills that each member brings to the challenge. They have learnt how to safely use a range of potentially dangerous tools. They have also learnt to practise resilience and how to deal with frustration.
As a parent, I’m also pleased to say that they have also learnt how to clean up after themselves, which is just as well as several egg drivers did meet a messy end.
The Year 7 students have enjoyed the speedy safe car unit and later in the year, at the showcase, we hope you will be able to come and see them demonstrate their amazing vehicles.