24th June 2014

On Saturday 21st June 2014 six local primary schools came together at Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School’s courtyard to race their eco-friendly, self-built, electric cars under the heat of the summer sun. They made the cars as part of ‘The IET Formula Goblin project’ run by the company ‘Greenpower’ which is overseen, in the Thanet area, by Mr Lester Edmeades, since 2006. The aim is for our local primary schools to put together a group of year 6 students to plan, design, build and race electric cars. Unlike most areas running this initiative Thanet do not use kits but instead build the cars from scratch. Mrs Collette -  running the Greenpower club at Christ Church Junior School told me the project had been a ‘2 or 3 month slow process’ consisting of afterschool meetings and specific jobs for the kids.

The aim of the project is to give young people a taste of engineering while teaching them important skills. The Greenpower website suggests incorporating the project into the curriculum teaching the kids about ‘friction, electricity, materials, maths and design technology’. This seems to have been successful as just by wandering through the pits area I heard children of ten and eleven remarking ‘the bodywork is rubbing on the wheels, that’s going to slow us down’, ‘if we oil the wheel joints they’ll spin faster’ and ‘let’s not do a powered practice, that’s going to run down the battery and we won’t have enough power to get up the slope’. Clearly these children are learning valuable lessons in maths, physics and design.

Another aspect of the project is the use of recycled materials, teaching the children to be environmentally conscientious. This year all the schools made use of environmentally-friendly materials in a creative way. The St Saviour’s team transformed the car into a dragon with an eggbox head and used card scales, Herne Bay used old school jumpers to make the sides of theirs and Drapers Mill, who won the prize for presentation, had a Cadburys Heroes themed car using chocolate wrappers to decorate.

This year the children raced fantastically with less crashes than usual, much to the delight of the Chatham and Clarendon Greenpower team who were overseeing the race and generally helping out wherever needed. The team from Herne Bay school raced particularly well winning both the main race and the driving skills challenge, in which the children have to navigate a difficult track and stop in a designated box. The cars were also made very well with only a few modifications needing to be made by the Chatham and Clarendon team.

All teams did well in making and racing their cars but overall it was Saint Saviours Primary School who took home the trophy for overall winners. When asked to sum up the day in one word a children of the team came up with ‘amazingly awesome’ an when reminded I’d asked for one word told me to ‘squish it together to make one word’. I like to think this forward-thinking mentality stems from the project. The attending teams would like to say a big thank you to Mr Edmeades, his Greenpower team and Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School for holding this event, it truly was an ‘amazinglyawesome’ day.

Thanks must go to Reclamet who provided the Tyres to mark out the racing course, to Whites Transport who delivered and returned the tyres and the team of volunteers from Cummins who loaded and unloaded four times.













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