We recently had a collapsed day for Year 7s organised by Mr Russell, where students were competing to make a car which would travel at the greatest speed. Emma took part in the competition and gives us her take on the day.
‘On Wednesday 3rd April, Year 7 took part in an event called Race for the Line. Each student picked their groups within their Houses (Rowling, Holmes, Attenborough and Hawking) and within their tutor groups prior to the day.
The day began by Year 7 greeting one another in the Sports Hall, to go over the rules and regulations and other information with Mr Russell. Also, when we arrived, lists of our groups were put up on the doors leading to the Sports Hall, and the Hall itself, in case we needed reminding. We sat in our Houses and groups to listen to the teachers explain the day, with most of the Year group looking ready to go, determined to win.
Mr Russell explained that there was a ‘no cut zone’ on our car, partly for safety reasons, giving us one of our only limitations of what we could do with the car. The car had to be made from a foam block which we had known already. We were also told that each house would have a room to begin with, then swap around to complete all stages of our car. Most people started by researching power to weight ratio (the balance between having a heavy or light car balancing with the power it needs to create speed) and aerodynamics (how air flows around an object during movement). Whilst researching this we were asked to create a PowerPoint explaining the materials of our car.
After we had researched our materials and created a PowerPoint, most Houses were asked to research wheel and car designs, on computers or iPads. Some groups drew their wheels to remember their ideas, others jotted down notes and some just simply memorised their favourite design which they believed would give their car as much speed as possible.
The next stage was to shape our foam block, create axles from some wood and draw the design on computers for the wheels which were cut using the laser cutter. Before we could cut our foam block, each group measured out the ‘no cut zone’ to ensure their car was not disqualified. These areas were on the back of the block and on the two sides. Before doing this each team had to check that they had put their car the right way round or this would probably also mean disqualification.
After the main body of the car was shaped and each group was happy they were within the areas allowed to be cut, the axles and the wheels had to be made and assembled. Some groups had one person designing the wheels on the computer whilst the rest of the car was being shaped. This meant that these groups were slightly ahead of time to make sure the car was up to their standards. The only rule of the wheels was that they had to be at least 6cm tall, so each team had to take precautions to ensure their wheels were not too small. After the wheels were cut and measured, the axles were made by cutting the wood to a certain measurement and feeding it through the holes made already. Then, with the last measurement check, the main assembling of the car and wheels was completed.
The last stage in the process of designing our cars was decoration. Some groups had a minimal amount of decoration, whilst others had extravagantly placed features including large spoilers. It was also a race to the end to complete our cars, adding final touches of decoration and gluing the last small details together. Then we were outside preparing to watch our cares race in a fierce battle of speed.
Before the cars could be raced, a quick check took place to ensure all cars were within the specifications given – a few had to be disqualified due to being too thin or having a cut in the ‘no cut zone’. Then the race began. Each car was raced, one at a time, attached to a wire and it had a gadget inside to measure the speed. With a 3, 2, 1, the first car set off, then another, then another, with gaps in between so that each car could be set up correctly.
After lots of cheering, clapping and fun races to watch, we came inside to hear the results. We could feel the excitement in the room as the results were revealed. In joint 2nd place was a Hawking team from 7SR and a Rowling team from 7SR. In 1st place and ‘Race to the Line’ winners was a Hawking team from 7AS. These three teams then qualified to go to a competition involving a number of schools in Ipswich the following day.
Overall, it was an amazing day for us, and we thank all the teachers who helped to run the event.’