Science In Action

We'd like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the exceptional work in the Hertswood Academy Science department in recent months, with students engaged in new and exciting activities both inside and outside school.

All of the articles below are by Mr Pawar (STEM & Physics Coordinator)

Developing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Maths) is a vital role of schools today. Technology is playing an increasingly important part in our daily lives. With my background in engineering, my aim at Hertswood Academy is to show students the many opportunities available to them by actively engaging in STEM outside the classroom.
Mr Pawar (STEM & Physics Coordinator)



The CanSat Competition

The CanSat project is run by the Education Office of the European Space Agency (ESERO). It involves building a miniature satellite within the size of a soft drink can, challenging students to fit all the major subsystems — power, sensors, communications, etc. — into minimal volume. Students have to manage a project from initial concept through to final product, over a period of six months.

Teams are tasked with a primary mission to measure temperature and pressure during the descent, and transmit them to a ground station. A dozen teams across the UK took part, including an eager group of our A-Level Physics students, whose efforts have been of benefit to themselves and the academy as a whole.

The finals took place on the 11th March, and the students thoroughly enjoyed the long hours and the ups and downs of an actual engineering project, one which would usually take qualified engineers several years to complete.

For the final part of our CanSat project we went to the finals at the National STEM centre in York. We were briefed on how the days would be scheduled and given one day to do last minute preparations and improvements. On the Friday we did our drop test and it went a lot better than expected. We were still receiving a signal from 150m away, which was a huge improvement on our first result of 10m. Unfortunately we didn’t win but it was a great experience and we’re proud to have represented Hertswood for the first time in the competition.
Overall the project has been very successful and we have worked well as a team to achieve our goal. We are very proud to have finally built our satellite as it took months to complete and all team members put in great effort
Isaac, Year 12 (CanSat Project Manager)



A Workshop on Satellites

With the Sixth Form working on the CanSat project since September, they decided to get more students engaged in a career in STEM, by running a satellite workshop for Year 8 students. They asked them to simulate what the A-Level students had to achieve, but in a more condensed format. They had to design and construct a system to land an egg safely on a surface without any cracks or breakages. (The A-Level students had to land a bunch of sensors and a deployment system instead!)

When ready, they had to present their completed designs to the Sixth Formers. The younger and older students thoroughly enjoyed the event, and since many of the eggs survived (due to some excellent designs) the winners were selected based on the best design presentations.




Promoting Women in Engineering

Our school was invited to a Dyson Workshop, funded by Imperial College, at Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls. The fantastic event was designed to promote women in engineering, and a group of our Year 11 students went along to take part.

In the Dyson workshop we created our own cars out of card, straws, tape, motors and more. As we were building we learnt how things worked and what worked best. The people were very nice, didn’t mind explaining everything to us, and answered as many questions as we had.
Emily, Year 11

It was an exciting and exhilarating experience, which opened up a lot of doors and inspired us to further our education with Imperial College. It gave us an amazing insight into the work of engineers.
Jessica, Year 11

The Science faculty will be working closely with Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls in the future to encourage more girls to consider a career in STEM.




Rocketry Challenge

On Monday 24th April, three students from Year 11, Vion, Alen and Dylan (left to right in first picture), participated in the UK Youth Rocketry Challenge, along with our mentor Liam from MBDA Systems. It was an interesting and exciting day, and felt like real rocket testing. We watched as many rockets nose-dived into the ground and others promptly burst into flames, but we are happy to report that of the twenty or so rockets launched on the day, despite half of them not surviving the process, ours came through intact. Furthermore, we came incredibly close to the target altitude of 700ft, reaching an impressive 620ft, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite close enough to progress to the national finals.

The students should be very proud of how well they did. They look forward to trying again next year, to have another chance at using the knowledge and skills they’ve gained in rocket-building, with ever more determination to succeed.

On the day of the competition we were the first to arrive, and quickly started making the many modifications to prepare for the launch. Ours was the largest rocket, and the only one with 3D printed components! We made two launches during the day, and both went straight up and down with the parachute working perfectly, while other rockets went off sideways or suffered from failing thrusters. I learned a lot about rocket engineering from the project, and can’t wait to try again.
Vion, Year 11



Isaac Physics

On Tuesday 31st January, a group of Year 12 physics students attended an advanced physics workshop on calculus by Isaac Physics. Run by Cambridge University, Isaac Physics challenges students to think beyond their A-Level, and into the realms of university physics.

Before attending the workshop, we visited The British Museum to see how physics has been involved through the ages, and soaked up some culture too! Afterwards, we headed to the Institute of Education UCL where the workshop took place. The students ended the day by tackling some incredibly complex physics problems.

The group really enjoyed the day, conducted themselves wonderfully, and are looking forward to more physics trips in the near future.