Water Rocket Challenge NPL Teddington

The day the Science Club had been looking forward to for months had finally arrived. The 6 pupils forming the Science Club team had put onthe brand new T-shirts for the event with a picture of the Big Bang on the front as well as the title Cosmic Cats and their own names stencilled on. We collected our 6 water rockets, a water bucket, our rocket launcher from the Physics Lab and our packed lunches from the canteen and brought them to the Minibus. Molly, the team leader, put on her pilot’s cap and dark sunglasses to add to the sense of occasion! We were now ready for action!

We arrived at the National Physics Laboratory’s Sports Field at about 12: 30. We first went to the registration tent where they checked our school name and gave us some very welcome bottles of water, a sun cap and some safety goggles. Next we went to the checkers’ tent, where the Rockets and Rocket Launchers were checked to ensure that they met the safety regulations. We then went to find a shady spot where we had our lunch. The temperature was in the 30s . We heard later on the news that it was the hottest June day since 1976.

After a fairly quick lunch we made our way to our allocated bay to prepare for the competition proper. We set up our launcher and stuck the 4 competition stickers that we were given to our 4 best rockets. The announcer told all the teams in the 24 bays to prepare to fire their first rockets.

We fired our rockets and managed to get two of them over the fence 35 metres away. Unfortunately, however, one of our rockets exploded and gave a big bang. This is quite a regular occurrence at this event and is not dangerous but does bruise your ego a bit, as you lose some precious points. This meant we were out of the running for the leaders.

The pupils then did a routine that they had prepared where they sang and danced to the tune of the theme song from the Big Bang Theory. It was recorded on a video recorder and should be shown on the promotion video for the 2018 Water Rocket Challenge in February of next year.

The pupils also had a chance to visit some Engineering and Science workshops on various themes such as operating remote control vehicles and making super strong rods from which to construct chairs and ornamentsusing nothing more than rolled newspapers from a “Stixx” machine.

Finally we fired a rocket which contained an egg. The object of the exercise was to try and fire the rocket and land it without breaking the egg inside. If we could do this we would receive a coveted “Eggstra Challenge” Certificate. We packed the rocket with hamster bedding material provided by Rebecca and hoped for the best. After every rocket was checked the judges announced the results and presented the prizes. We discovered to our delight that we had won the Eggstra Challenge and to our amazement we also received a Special Category Trophy. This was a just reward for the sterling efforts that the pupils had put into their preparations in the last few months.

The girls were thrilled to have won the Certificate and the Award and all of them were keen to come back and do it all over again next year!

Mr T Blake