Rocket science at college

Release Date: 3 June 2016

Nearly 100 school pupils descended on D&A College to race rocket-powered cars around Kingsway Campus.

Rocket science article
Taking the driver’s seat at D&A College Bloodhound event: Cody Logue and Jamie McCann (both 12), of St Paul’s Academy

Engineering lecturers Bob Gray and Scott McGovern welcomed pupils from Fife to Moray to a heat of the Bloodhound Project model car races, a UK endeavour to encourage pupils across the country to become involved in science, technology, engineering and maths.

In his role of director of curriculum Kevin Murphy sent model car kits to Banchory Academy, Keith Grammar School, Forfar Academy, Monifieth HS, Bell Baxter HS, Fife, and the city’s own St Paul’s Academy.

The pupils assembled the kits and brought them back to D&A College where the lecturers fitted the rockets before holding explosive time trials.

Despite being less than a foot long, the lightweight cars can reach speed of more than 90mph.

As well as the actual races, the lecturers organised a series of activities for the teams including: a presentation looking at the science behind the cars; a full-size racing car on show – one that take part in drifting; a chance to see flying drones in action; robots, and virtual reality goggles.

“While we intended the day to be as entertaining as possible, we instilled a little bit of science and maths into the pupils,” said Bob with a smile.

“This project includes aerodynamics, maths, fluid dynamics – all the sciences.”

So much so that the lecturers plan to incorporate high-speed rocket-powered model making into one module of a motor vehicle engineering course already running at D&A College.

“The models offer an insight into physics, engineering, even rocket science! It should certainly be on the curriculum,” laughed Scott.