Grazely Park Primary school pupils enjoyed an out of this world rocket-making workshop
Grazely Park Primary school pupils enjoyed an out of this world rocket-making workshop thanks to UTC Reading’s Director of Engineering, Andy Thacker, and Year 12 students – Hugo, Tom, Fraser and Laurence.
The year 1 and 2 pupils had an hour and a half to build rockets inspired by NASA’s and Elon Musk’s spaceships.
A few rain showers didn’t dampen spirits as the pupils tested their rockets dressed in waterproofs.
As Andy pumped up the launcher, the students began counting down until the launch button was pressed. As is the case in many engineering endeavours, the first launches were unsuccessful, with parts of the rocket breaking up with a bang. However, the addition of duct tape to the nose cones allowed the rockets to fly into orbit. At this point a large cheer from the students deafened the 5 from UTC Reading.
After break, the year 3 and reception classes got the opportunity to become budding young aerospace engineers. As this was the second time of leading the groups through the building process, the UTC Reading group refined their methods and the new rockets were built with a duct tape-enforced nose cone. The students were invited to try other designs such as differing shapes and numbers of fins plus more pointed cones (producing some entertaining and interesting flights).
Following another break in the miserable weather, the pupils had a chance to launch their rockets following a demonstration of a UTC produced rocket that successfully completed a near 300m flight. The flights of the students’ rockets were highly successful with some challenging the height of the UTC’s rocket, again met with great delight from the school students.
Finally, the year 5’s had a turn to make their rockets. In true space race style these rockets came together very quickly, again using a duct tape-reinforced design. Fraser had brought along his own 3D printer to help with the design and this was seen to have great entertainment value, some of the year 5s watching it closely as it printed nose cones for their rockets. A few pupils also asked Fraser lots of questions about the printer.
Despite no real break in the rain, the year 5s were eager to test their designs and rushed out to launch their rockets. Most of this year’s participants demonstrated their understanding of engineering and challenged the UTC’s design, with their rockets flying well and providing a successful end to a very enjoyable day.
We hope to see some of the young engineers from Grazely Park Primary School at UTC Reading in the future.
Thomas Canning, Year 12, UTC Reading