Fast lane for Ipswich students

YOUNGSTERS at Stoke High School have taken a hands-on approach to learning by designing their very own soap box car.A dedicated team of students has been working on the project for nearly a year, preparing to race their vehicle in a derby next month.

YOUNGSTERS at Stoke High School have taken a hands-on approach to learning by designing their very own soap box car.

A dedicated team of students has been working on the project for nearly a year, preparing to race their vehicle in a derby next month.

Numerous prototypes and tests have been designed over the past months with students taking a practical approach to physics and engineering.

Mark Adams, the teacher co-ordinating the project said: "This is all their work. We have talked about it but they have done all of the work.

"This is well above GCSE level. Kids learn in different ways, these guys need to get their hands dirty and make models."

The group's first scale prototype had several design flaws with three wheels and rear wheel drive.

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Mr Adams added: "Everything was heading for a big crash and that was part of the fun. If you start with something that doesn't work you can modify it to make it work – we couldn't have done it any other way.

"We have done this from scratch and it hasn't completely held together. In industry it would take years."

The youngsters designed the models using computer added design packages and tested whether they were aerodynamic in a wind tunnel.

Scaled prototypes were then tested for design flaws to ensure a successful model at the end of the project as well as for safety reasons.

The project is part of a wider scheme incorporating ten teams from across Suffolk and headed by David Ackroyd, a teacher from Haverhill.

He said: "The project gets 10 schools to build racers. The best one goes forward to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, providing that it passes two days of scrutineering at Goodwood.

"All schools then cheer on their racer. This year Samuel Ward Upper School and Technology College got a racer to Goodwood. Stoke High helped at scrutineering and also contributed with ideas."

The racers at Goodwood can get up to speeds of 70mph but Stoke High is hoping theirs will top 20mph – the lower speed means one of the youngsters will be able to race it.

Those involved in the project have worked tirelessly through lunch breaks and after school hours with five pupils turning up regularly.

Pupils have learnt about the interior and exterior working of cars and developed an interest in engineering through designing their own vehicle.

Aaron Noble, 15, said: "I have learnt more about suspension and vacuum forming."

While Josh Pulman, 14 said: "I have learnt a bit more about cars. I didn't really know much about them before."

The students will be racing their car at Stoke High School on Saturday, July 10 at 12noon.

Do you have any news from south west Ipswich? Call Kate Boxell on 01473 324800 or email kate.boxell@eveningstar.co.uk.

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