Earlier this month saw the launch of the Race for the Line BBC micro:bit Rocket Car Competition - a nationwide challenge in which teams of 11 to 16 year olds will design and build foam rocket cars before pitching them against each other in head-to-head races.
The competition is a joint venture between Microsoft and the Bloodhound Engineering Project, aiming to get more children thinking about and excited by science and computing. To mark the official launch of the Race for the Line BBC micro:bit Rocket Car Competition, technical experts from Microsoft, the British Army and the Bloodhound Engineering Project visited Kennet Secondary in Thatcham to help the students there build and race their own rocket cars!
Using words alone it is hard to do justice to how much of a success the day way, but thankfully there were cameras there on the day to capture the excitement and enthusiasm of all involved:
A full report of the Race for the Line BBC micro:bit Rocket Car Competition launch day at Kennet Secondary School can be found on the Microsoft News Centre UK: The school that built a 64mph rocket car
Digital skills and STEM
Looking beyond the immediate impact that the Bloodhound project is clearly having, there is a much wider objective here. Increasing the teaching of and interest in STEM subjects is vital in developing the 21st century digital skills that will be increasingly in demand in the workplace. With the IT industry currently suffering from a skills gap it is important to ensure that tech companies and educators are doing more to increase the foster an interest in STEM subjects in schools by proactively engaging with one another on projects such as this. Computer Weekly's Clare McDonald explores this in further detail in her recent article BBC micro:bit Model Rocket Car Competition sparks creative interest in Stem.
BBC micro:bit - a world of possibilities
With the BBC micro:bit now finding its way into the hands of every Year 7 student in the country (that’s a million micro:bits!) we are seeing more and more innovative, imaginative and creative projects emerging from teachers and students inspired to engage with the STEM subjects and embark upon wider cross curricular activities.
To leave you with some examples, PC Advisor has compiled a list of things you can do with a BBC micro:bit, from a simple rock, paper, scissors game to a music-making arpeggiator: PC Advisor: 8 things you can do with the BBC micro:bit