Learning experience is a rollercoaster

Children from three primary schools have taken part in a challenge to build a rollercoaster buggy cart, using learning materials developed by the Rochester Bridge Trust.

The activities saw learners from Years 5 and 6 test a range of construction methods for joining moving parts together and developing an understanding of forces and the impact they have on how the buggies are made.

Claire Saunders, an Education Officer from the Rochester Bridge Trust, explained: “Around 30 children from each school took part in workshops, which helped them apply their classroom learning to this real-world task. This included testing the effects different materials and designs have on the stability and structure of the buggies.

“It’s a great way of encouraging children to think about the problem-solving nature of civil engineering and I particularly enjoyed seeing the different ways they approached the challenge.”

The workshops culminated in a competition where teams of four worked together to design and build rollercoaster buggies. These were then tested, giving the children the opportunity to consider each other’s work and learn from their various achievements. Cookies n Cream team from Burntoak School was named the overall winner because not only did their buggy travel the furthest distance, while protecting its load, it also scored highly for using minimal resources and not wasting materials.

Year 5 teacher Seán Eiffe added: “The event was well resourced and thoroughly engaging for both children and adults. It built on the knowledge the pupils already had and allowed them to practically apply it in a very fun way. Claire, the instructor, was very skilled and the children loved her. Both myself and my class enjoyed it very much!”

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