Last weekend I visited The Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham in the hope to see some applications of science in the future tech on show there.
One thing that caught my eye was the Bloodhound SSC. This car is Britain’s latest attempt on the World Land Speed Record and it hopes to reach an amazing 1000 mph (237 mph faster than the current record, also set by the same group). SSC is an acronym for Super Sonic Car as it will travel at 447m/s, faster than the speed of sound.
An important part of the project is to inspire future generations to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (the STEM subjects), hence its presence at the show.
The applications of using the car in science lessons are many. For a KS3 lesson on aerodynamics, you need to do nothing more than show a picture of the car. Its streamlined shape gives clues to how this car has a low drag as it speeds through the air.
Of course, it is vital that the car also employs some parts that have the ability to increase friction, and fast. The car will eventually need to be slowed down and stopped. Students can discuss how the air-brakes and parachute will do this.
For GCSE physics classes, you may wish to elaborate on how this car will accelerate from 0-1 000 mph in just 42 seconds. Force = mass x acceleration can be used. Students will see that in order to keep acceleration as high as possible, the force has
to be high and the mass low. They can speculate how Bloodhound SSC is designed to do this or even go onto their website and find out the facts for themselves.
The website also has a good education area, which invites schools to sign up in order to receive free goodies and have access to all of the activities on the site, and some videos (one of which is shown below).
I’ve attached a PowerPoint presentation that you might find useful if you want to use this amazing car and its record attempt in your lessons.