Renfrewshire pupils race for success in ‘Goblin car’ STEM project

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Renfrewshire pupils race for success in ‘Goblin car’ STEM project

Pupils from eight Renfrewshire primary schools raced hand-crafted ‘Goblin’ cars’ in a special event held recently.

In a project initiated by Glasgow Caledonian University and Royal Navy—and funded by the Royal Society—more than 700 pupils from Bargarran, Brediland, Fordbank, Langcraigs, Our Lady of Peace, St Anthony’s, Todholm and Wallace primary schools worked with their teachers and parents to build their very own electric racing cars to take to the racetrack at Kames in East Ayrshire.

The cars could reach up to 20mph and each school had three pupil drivers who would race against their peers in other schools to see who could be the fastest.

Pupils began working on the project nine months ago by taking part in workshops facilitated by engineering students from Glasgow Caledonian and the Royal Navy.

On top of racing cars, pupils also worked with Glasgow Caledonian game-design students to develop a racing video game.

David Rigmand, head teacher of Wallace Primary, explained that the whole project helped pupils see career opportunities in engineering and beyond.

He said: “It’s been great to see the children involved develop skills for life and work, and to make a connection with a university and see the opportunities out there in engineering.

“They have also learned that engineering is multifaceted and hands-on, and getting to do this in collaboration with other schools and the university has been an exciting experience for them.”

Emma Paterson, primary 7 pupil at Wallace Primary, said: “I loved that we got to build a car and learned how each part works and why it is needed. It was brilliant that we then got to drive the car at a racetrack and visit the university to see how they do things every day and how we could go there and do the same in the future.”

Professor Patricia Munoz de Escalona, project lead from Glasgow Caledonian’s Mechanical Engineering department, said: “The idea was to get children hands-on with the engineering of an electric car and open their eyes to STEM careers. They’ve learned about aerodynamics, composites, design and car manufacturing along the way.”

The cars have been designed that they can be dismantled and re-built, meaning the pupils who built the car this year will be able to teach their younger peers how to build it in future years.

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