Friday, 15 April, 2016

Ever wondered how fast a rocket car made of foam can go? Well, wonder no more, as that’s exactly what students across the UK will be finding out, using the BBC micro:bit mini-computer.

Launched on April 18 at Kennet Secondary School in Berkshire, and the Edinburgh College Midlothian Campus in Scotland, the “Race for the Line” BBC micro:bit Model Rocket Car Challenge will encourage pupils aged 11 to 16 to work together to make a foam rocket car powered by a small solid fuel rocket motor, and pit it against rival teams.

To find out how fast their cars go, pupils will have to program a BBC micro:bit device to capture real-time data from the vehicles and download it using a Microsoft Office add-on. Using this data, the students will tweak their designs to make their car go as fast as possible.

Once the vehicles have been built and tested, schools will hold their own rocket car race days between April 19 and June 30, with the fastest cars from each school going through to a national competition on June 30 at the Santa Pod Raceway in Northampton. The final in Scotland takes place slightly earlier on June 9 in Edinburgh.

The top three fastest teams will be the overall winners of the national competition and receive a cash prize for their schools. The overall winning team will win a trip to Newquay to watch Bloodhound professionals launch a real rocket.

Schools that wish to take part, will need to register online (in Scotland please register here). The first 10,000 kits will be provided free of charge by the British Army, if you register before April 29.