DESIGN and engineering skills were put to the test at King’s Ely Senior this week at the annual Recycled Raft Race.

Aimed at encouraging Year 9 students to apply their learning in Physics and Design and Technology into practice, the challenge saw 55 students design, construct and race model boats made of recycled materials such as plastic bottles, solar panels and motors across the King’s Ely swimming pool.

Before the challenge, the students had just three hours in which to design, build and test their model boats in sinks or paddling pools. Tools and basic construction materials including glue, scissors, elastic bands and hooks were also available on the day.

A number of pioneering designs were attempted: rocket boats, remote control boats, sailing boats, wind up propeller boats and even a torpedo boat. The winner, however, was a serene affair from Elizabeth Hall and Rosie McGrath, which relied on a combination of a rubber band powered propeller and sail. The boat crossed the pool in a time of 2 minutes and 34 seconds, leaving other more physical competitors in its wake.

The prize for the Most Ambitious Design went to Kitty Foster, Margaret Mwangola and Zoe Whelan, whose boat used the airflow from balloons discharged through oboe reed containers. Best Craftsmanship was awarded to Jacob Gamble and Jacob Cave, who used a remote control car on a shaped wooden hull with laser cut paddle wheels, and the Most Creative Use of Materials award went to Calum Galbraith, Jack Parry and James Hinton, who adapted an old battery-powered air freshener to power their craft.

Ned Kittoe, Head of Physics at the school, said: “All pupils learnt something about the processes of design and engineering, and many surprised themselves with what they were able to achieve.”

Head of Design and Technology, Claire Poole, added: “It was delightful to see so many students engaged and determined to design and their ambitious ideas.”

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