Supersonic! Year 8 STEM students study record-breaking technology

Last week, a group of thirteen Year 8 students visited Hull University to take part in a range of hands-on design challenges related to the Bloodhound SSC (SuperSonic Car) project.


Students pose with their air-powered rocket car
Bloodhound SSC is a unique, high-technology project to design and build a car that will break the 1,000mph
barrier and set a new world land speed record.

Designed and constructed in the UK, Bloodhound SSC includes components and sponsorship from
international companies and will make its record attempt in South Africa. The project is designed to share this
international engineering adventure with a global
audience - showcasing how amazing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) can be and the vast array of opportunities that studying them can provide young people.

As part of an on-going education project designed to reach as many young learners as possible, Bloodhound SSC sent a team of scientists and engineers to the
University of Hull to provide an insight in to this exciting world.

After an introductory talk about the history of the land speed record and the challenges that it brings, students spent time investigating the qualities required to become actively involved in a project such as this. They were then given the opportunity to build an air-powered rocket car - a challenge which saw them working in teams to design, test and modify their vehicles before competing in a head-to-head battle for speed and distance.

This task was followed by a discussion with a development engineer from the Bloodhound SSC project who explained how the vehicle is powered, the state-of-the-art materials used and how the design has evolved over the last three years.

The final session of the day allowed students to see how the onboard telemetry systems provide vital data for analysis by the team as part of the ongoing quest for additional speed and safety. They used models with a range of wireless enabled motion sensors to transmit data to laptops for real time analysis. The displacement / time graphs and velocity / time graphs these produced are a direct link with those studied in Additional Science in Year 11. One student commented “Was that really GCSE? It seemed so easy!” - a clear reflection on how this type of activity can allow students to visualise topics that could otherwise be a purely theoretical concept.

Trip leader and Teacher of Science Ian Dyke commented: "I was very proud to take a group of students who were so actively engaged and interested in the project. It was great to hear them asking pertinent questions relating to all elements of the design, the technology employed and where it will lead us in the future. They were a credit to themselves and the school"

For more information about the Bloodhound SSC project, please visit their official website

Some of the students pose with the Bloodhound SSC vehicle.