The Bloodhoound education team has launched the largest STEM contest in history, with 10,000 teams from across the UK competing in the BBC micro:bit Model Rocket Car Competition.
The Model Rocket Car Challenge, supported by Guinness World Records, is the flagship activity for the BBC Micro:bit programme and features four categories catering for different age groups.
Outright speeds have risen from 88mph to 533mph, a record set by the Joseph Whitaker School Young Engineers club in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
Organised through a network of 120 Bloodhound hubs, the teams will be racing in series of regional heats, leading up to the national finals at Santa Pod Raceway at the end of June.
This is another example of the “Bloodhound Effect”, inspiring young people to engage in science and technology in the most exciting way possible.
Gone are the days when young students had to estimate at the performance of their cars, and guess how to improve next time round.
Now, students across the country are designing and building rocket cars from blocks of foam, and fitting them with BBC micro:bits. This enables them to gather and store data such as acceleration, and track their velocity.
Now they can download the data, analyse exactly what happened, and engineer their improvements based on the information.
Students can get the inside track on how Bloodhound’s engineers addressed the challenges of aerodynamics and discover how to optimise the performance of their cars by using Bloodhound’s first official app – available for both ios and Android devices.
To date, upwards of 6,000 UK primary and secondary schools have signed up and are using free Bloohound Education Resources in the classroom, with 150 STEM school events a year reaching more than 100,000 students.
Bloodhound has a team of 800 specially trained ambassadors to help the support teachers the length and breadth of the country. And the effort appears to be paying off; 65% of students engaged by Bloodhound indicated that they would now consider an engineering or science vocation.
Bloodhound itself is hoping to undertake its world land speed record challenge sometime in 2017.