The STEM Hub Canterbury Christ Church University
The STEM Hub


Big Bang at School Event at the Victory Academy, Kent

 May 10 2023 | Kent & Medway | Views: 563

The Victory Academy is a mixed secondary school and sixth form situated in Chatham, Kent. The school’s ethos and values are centred around ‘Respect, Pride and Belief’ and aims to give its students the best tools and opportunities to enable them to succeed both academically and professionally regardless of their background.

The school has been focusing on increasing awareness of the role STEM subjects play in everyday life and STEM careers. As part of this initiative, its science department took part in Engineering UK’s Big Bang at Schools programme for the first time which was supported by The STEM Hub Central South & South East.

On the 10 May 2023 Victory Academy’s Yr9 and Yr10 students were taken off timetable for the morning to engage in a magical science show hosted by Ian, which displayed his ‘magician’s’ prowess and the science behind his tricks. Included in the science show were optical illusions, resonance, robotics, rope tricks, static electricity and pH along with a few jokes.

The second part of the students’ morning was taken up with a hands-on session where students had to complete a task. Both year groups were asked to build a moving car using only the materials provided, their physics knowledge and engineering skills. Limited materials included a plastic drinks bottle, milk container tops, rubber bands, paper clips, wooden skewers, card offcuts, a balloon, drinking straws, scissors and sticky tape. Students also had access to hot glue guns. Students were given two design suggestions for the car but could also come up with their own design. Suggestions included a balloon propelled car and a car with a fan propeller made from a second bottle.

Students were divided into 8 classes and worked in teams of 3. After completing their car activities, students measured the furthest distance their car could travel with prizes given to the team whose car travelled the greatest distance in each class. There was a wide variety of success with some distances quite impressive and other teams being scuppered at the last minute by being over eager with the glue gun.

  • Amy, Academic Mentor, commented: “It was a fantastic live science show. It was good to use mostly recycled materials to create the cars. There was a predominantly collaborative and slightly competitive(!) atmosphere.”
  • Vice Principal, Oliver Owen said: “It was wonderful for students to have the opportunity to engage in science in a different and interactive way.”
  • Year 10 students’ comments included: “The show was amazing.” .….”A fantastic event.” …”Building the car was more difficult than we thought but fun.”
  • Year 9 students’ comments included: “The show was fun.”……. “We worked well as a team to make the car and won a prize!”….. ”I liked the singing saw and the robots”.

This STEM event was such a success we plan to organise a similar event next year.

(All images supplied by the Victory Academy)


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