IN WHAT looked like a scene from the engineering game show Scrapheap Challenge, the swimming pool at King’s Ely was transformed into a giant laboratory to host this year’s Recycled Raft Race.

The school’s Physics and Design and Technology departments fused together for the challenge, where teams of Year 9 students compete to design and construct a model boat from recycled materials that is capable of crossing a width of the pool in the shortest possible time. Prizes are awarded for the fastest boat, the most ambitious design, the best craftsmanship and the most creative use of materials.

Before the big event on Saturday (29), the students were tasked with collecting recycled materials for the project, such as plastic bottles, polythene bags, motors and solar panels. They also performed some experiments in their Physics lessons and brushed up on theories relating to energy storage, movement, floating and sinking.

On Saturday morning, they had 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.

Head of Design and Technology, Claire Poole, said: “The students have all experimented with different designs, testing and modifying their boats as they go along until they have the best solution in the limited time they had. This shows the true spirit of design and technology.”

Ned Kittoe, King’s Ely Senior’s Head of Physics, added: ““It is wonderful to see how far an imaginative young mind with some basic science can go. I have been really impressed by the huge range of boats we have seen today.”

The winning teams:

Fastest Boat: Will Topping, Ciaran Carolan, Issy Oughton and Gemma Dyer

Most Creative Use of Materials: Yordan Ignatov, Will Watt-Smyrk and Fadi Fawzi

Best Craftsmanship: Issy Flint, Lia Harris and Milli Oddi

Most Ambitious Design: Chris Barb, Ed Chitterden and Jonathan Watson

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