Local schools are being given the opportunity to take part in The IET Greenpower Goblin project, an exciting national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) project where primary school students aged 9-11 build and race their own electronic go-kart. Typically run as an after school or lunchtime club, the students work as a team to assemble the go-kart kit and then design and build the bodywork out of recycled materials such as cardboard.
Once complete the students then race their go-kart against other schools in both local and national competitions – the highlight of the season being the annual ‘Gathering of Goblins’ at the world famous Goodwood race track in July. On competition day the races include drag, slalom, sprint and pit-stop wheel changes, with lots of opportunities for different team members to take a turn at driving.
At the end of the season the go-karts are dis-assembled and completely recycled for a new set of students to use the following year.
Project Technical Director, Clive Seager, explained, “Following a very successful pilot last year at Freshford Primary, we are delighted to announce that 12 more go-karts, financed by local businesses, will be lent out free of charge to local primary schools for 2018 and then raced at a local event in the summer.”
“Last year Freshford built two cars and finished a very respectable fourth out of 84 teams at the national Goodwood race. The after-school engineering club is now so over-subscribed that Freshford will be building three cars in 2018 to allow even more students to be involved.”
As headteacher Andrew Wishart reflected, “The knowledge, teamwork, attitude, confidence and skills developed by the students during this STEM project were absolutely amazing. The financial support from local businesses has also been overwhelming; their desire to sponsor the students and spark an interest in STEM subjects is fantastic.”
“To set up a new after school club you just need a couple of keen parent helpers and/or teachers willing to run the club, typically with 8-12 youngsters aged 9-11,” added Clive. “The kits are not difficult to assemble using basic hand tools, such as spanners and allen keys – if you can build a LEGO set or some IKEA furniture, you can also build a Goblin go-kart, and the local Bath Goblins team can always assist if you get stuck. The kit will take approximately 10 one hour sessions to build, and can be built in a classroom or school hall. The go-kart kit is loaned free to the school – all the school needs to provide is recycled materials for the bodywork such as cardboard, plastic bottles or even crisp packets!
“As the go-karts are sponsored by our kind local sponsors such as Bath Audi, Cross Engineering, Rotork, Haynes Publishing, and David Claydon Advisers, there is no cost to the school to borrow a kit for the season. At the end of the season the kit is returned (or, subject to availability, kept for a new group the following year). We will also be parading the completed go-karts as part of the Bath Carnival procession in 2018 to allow the students to show off their creations to a much wider audience.”
The IET Greenpower Goblin competition is organised by the Greenpower Education Trust charity www.greenpower.co.uk, with the Bath area event supported by the local Bath Goblins team www.bathgoblins.co.uk.