in Aerospace

Smallpeice Trust inspires budding aircraft designers

Posted 14 February 2019 · Add Comment

The Smallpeice Trust, the largest national STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education charity in the UK, has launched a Powered Glider Think Kit that challenges teams of pupils to design and build an electrically-powered glider to travel the furthest distance, aimed at encouraging schools to inspire the next generation of aircraft designers.

Aircraft design is constantly evolving and as technology and available materials improve, new innovative designs such as Boeing’s autonomous electric powered passenger air vehicle are being introduced to the skies.
Think Kits are designed to complement the national curriculum in STEM-based subjects, providing teachers with the opportunity to bring these subjects to life and for students to see STEM at work in the real world.
Each kit contains all the project materials required to build five gliders over a nine-week period, for a STEM club of 20 students, split into five teams of four, and includes lesson plans, worksheets and guidance videos.
The project has four main elements including designing the glider, building it, trimming and testing the aircraft, before the final moment of truth – flying the final design in a competition between the student teams.
Sarah Bennett, careers coordinator at the Kingsley School in Leamington Spa, said: “The Kingsley School were delighted to be asked to work with the Smallpeice Trust to trial its new and improved glider Think Kit.  Our young engineering club enjoyed exploring all that the kit contained. The kit is well-packaged, containing all you need to build a powered glider over a series of weeks. 
“We enjoyed being part of the testing process and working with this brilliant charity, whose goals of encouraging young people to consider STEM careers chimes so well with our own here at the school.”
Dr Kevin P Stenson, chief executive of the Smallpeice Trust, added: “The Smallpeice Trust is a huge advocate of getting schoolchildren of all ages actively involved in participating in science and technology projects, and our popular Think Kits can really spark the imagination of a group.
“As the project progresses, students sharpen their skills in thinking and communicating ideas and responding creatively to briefs. They’ll also learn how to plan their time and organise activities as a team.
“What’s more, they can critically evaluate their work using scientific theories and models. It is inspiring to see the project evolve and come together – and with this Think Kit there is no right or wrong way to approach the project so there are many different ways to learn.”

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