Pupils make and race a rather special car
16 August 2018
Young engineers from our school have worked together to create a fantastic electric racing car, packed with green credentials.
Year 7 pupils Chantelle Baird, Dylan Lapsley, George Poppelwell and Daniel Craig, gave up their own time after school to work on the car, supported by engineering experts from Tyne Met College.
Their mission was to create a car that would be good enough to race at the famous Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire, as part of their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) club.
The young team tackled a whole range of technical challenges to complete the car, including designing its unique bodywork and cutting it themselves using specialist equipment at TyneMet College.
The bodywork was then hand-fitted, along with a throttle and a horn. Finally the team tweaked the car’s tyres and brakes and added mirrors and a pedometer.
The quality of the car earned it a place to race at this year’s Formula 24 Greenpower race at Croft – which brings together schools from across the country to compete against each other in their handmade electric vehicles.
During the event, the team raced their car in two 90-minute challenges to see who could get the furthest and fastest, and the car performed really well; even out-performing other well-financed vehicles on the track.
Chantelle, who became team leader for the race, said: “We had so much fun taking part in the race and when I found out that I’d done the fastest lap I couldn’t believe it.
“This project has really inspired me and made me realise that girls can do anything just as well as boys. When we went to TyneMet College, it really wowed me and made me think of engineering in a whole different way.”
George said: “I liked how the race was very focusesd on teamwork so if one person stopped then the team would fall apart so everyone had to do something or the team would fail.”
Daniel added: “The best part about working on the car was adding things to it and test driving it before the race. It’s really inspired me to have a go at fixing things like bikes and has helped me see what engineering is really about.”
Their work was supervised by science teacher Sara Vinsome.
Sara said: “The group have been amazing, taking on team roles and working together according to their strengths. They showed great resilience in the face of last minute repairs – as well as great technical skills using materials available to make the necessary adjustments.
“It has been wonderful to watch as the pupils developed their skills; to go from showing pupils how to hold a wrench to watching them working together to fit panels with minimal supervision, was fantastic.
“It was also fantastic to see the Norham car competing – and doing really well – against well-financed independent schools from across the country. It gave us all a huge sense of pride.”
David Baldwin, Executive Headteacher at Norham High School, said: “It’s really important that we inspire our young people to develop an interest in the STEM subjects. This racing car project is a brilliant way to do that, as it engages the pupils in a really hands-on way and they can work together towards creating something tangible and really good fun, while developing valuable STEM skills along the way.
“They’ve also developed a whole range of other valuable skills too, including project management and teamwork. They are excellent ambassadors for Norham, showing nothing but professionalism throughout the whole challenge.”
The pupils were mentored by Michael Burton, Head of Engineering at TyneMet College.
He said: “It’s been fantastic to see the pupils develop in confidence throughout this project. They’ve taken on some really tricky, technical challenges and worked through them as a great team. The finished car is absolutely fantastic and one of the best I’ve seen. They should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”
The Formula 24 Greenpower Electric Car challenge is organised by the Greenpower Education Trust.
You can find out more about the Greenpower Education Trust here.