|Department of Engineering|
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2 August 2006
Creating a rocket launch pad
Testing a rocket launch pad
Two recent events organised by the Department's Outreach Officer Dr Joy Warde have been met with a lot of very positive feedback from the school children who took part. The events aim to excite children about engineering.
Rocket Launch Pad
Around 300 children from 10 Cambridgeshire schools visited the Department of Engineering between 19th and 23rd June to complete a "Rocket Launch Pad" challenge. Rocket launch pad is designed to introduce primary school (aged 7-11) children to the creativity and fun of engineering. Small teams of pupils were challenged to build a rocket and launch pad using only paper, tape, nuts and bolts. The Rockets were then launched out on the fen, behind the Department.
The school visits were supported by a large team of enthusiastic and dedicated student volunteers who advise the teams on their design and help with the construction. These volunteers also act as engineering role models by sharing their own engineering experiences and answering pupil questions to help break down any misconceptions of what engineering is all about.
The children's school teachers were extremely positive about their visit. "Definitely one of the best educational trips I have ever taken children on". Reaction from the pupils was unanimous as summarised by a year 5 pupil "Thank you very much for letting us come to your brilliant University, to become young engineers, we had a fabulous time. We learnt a lot about engineering and structure building."
We hope some of these children will remember their visit to the Department of Engineering when making career choices in the future.
From June 14th to 16th a total of some 1500 youngsters from all over the region descended on the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, to work on a variety of technologically based projects from making a jitterbug dancer to designing a hovercraft. This event, known as 'Techlinks' is organised by ExSciTE Ltd and SETPoint Cambridgeshire, the three day event is designed to enthuse school children from both primary and secondary schools about engineering.
The core ethos of Techlinks is that wherever possible activities should be lead by engineers or scientists to promote a greater understanding of science, engineering and technology. This year 20 student volunteers from the Department and Cambridge University Engineers' Association (CUEA) members joined teams from ExSciTE Ltd and Science & Engineering Ambassadors to stage the technological challenges. Event organisers Alan and Sarah Rowe praised the efforts of the Department's students. "We couldn't run this event without them. It's hard work, they don't have to do it - yet they are full of enthusiasm, which rubs off on the children they talk to."
Further details of Department's outreach activities are available at: www.eng.cam.ac.uk/outreach
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