Annual Report including our rocket launch

BCHS has had a burgeoning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Club since January 2013.

In the new format, it was originally founded by Mr JJ Shepstone, Mr S Ward, Ms V. Njuguna and Miss. K. Price, additional support from coming from Miss E. Derbridge and the Maths Faculty. This year we have been based in the Physics/Science Faculty but are indebtetted to the support of the fabulous Technology faculty, particularly the gentlemen who will always be Mr D. Fish & Mr. ‘Miracle’ Monk, whose sense of humour carried all of us through our first attempt at the inter-schools rocket project.

The club has been a totally voluntary, weekly lunchtime club and has attracted students who have ‘special interests’ wide ranging from rockets to robots, sci-fi to Manga, coding to code-cracking. It provides a safe outlet for our students (who are not exclusively male) to give free reign to their imaginations in a ‘safe’, non-judgmental forum.  We never seek to tread on the toes of colleagues in the STEM spheres of our curriculum. We currently have 15 young men (mostly Y10) and 3 young ladies attending regularly.  We are keen to recruit both KS3 and Y12 students to develop the STEM ethos as we look forward to an exciting 2015.

This year we have been involved in:

Sept-Dec 2014

  • Paper Re-entry vehicles with egg payloads
  • BORG Cubes are they possible?
  • ICT/Technology run Raspberry Pi and Coding Clubs

Jan - March 2015

  • Supporting Gantry Structures Using KNEX kits, workshops
  • Initiation of the Essex  inter schools Rocketry Project
  • Technology colleagues participate in Ford Competition with a number of students

April  - July 2015

  • Second Stage of Rocket Construction culminating in ..
  • 16th May ’15: Essex Inter Schools Rocket Competition, at Stow Maries Aerodrome
  • Balsa Flight Kit and ‘flying’ workshops (Smallpiece Kits)
  • Forward Planning and Bidding

In addition to the above named colleagues we would also like to thank our partners and friends in SLT, Industry and Community beyond the school gate, particularly Mr. S Drew, Mr. R Davies (AHT- Community Links),  Mr James Lyttle ( Halla Visteon, UK  ), Mrs. Fiona Marriage (STEM Skills Advisor),  Mr Jon Jacomb (STEM Interschool Rocketry  Experts), the Essex STEM Team , Mr I Palmer (Governor & e2v Chelmsford), Fords in Brentwood, Mr Hickman (Parent) and all the parents of our STEM club students.

Rocket Competition Day - Stow Maries on 16th May 2015

There had been a slight hiatus in STEM Club’s activity just before Easter  (due to a family matter in the Shepstone camp)  STEM club reconvened. We had agreed to be involved with the Essex inter-schools STEM Rocket Challenge and had been sent a basic rocket ‘kit’, we were a  little terrified as to what we had taken on when we saw the sze of the rocket motors! Ozzy and Jack put our minds at rest with ther knowledge but we realised we were still on the steep part of the learning curve!

We invited Mr Jon Jacomb to our school and he bought his prototype ‘this is how you do it’ cut away rocket.  So work began and when the amazing Mr Monk (Res Mat Technician) offered to help us, we got weaving.  By working nearly every lunchtime in the two weeks prior to the 16th, we just had our rocket ready in time.

We all participated in designing the aerofoils, discussing internal layout and how to get the egg in the nose cone to land safely!  If we are ever involved again I suspect we will spend more time on these matters. At the 11th hour we went for a striking yet simple pink and blue livery after some very polemic bidding from Harry and Alex that it should look like Thunderbird 1!

We met at Stow Maries on a fine but breezey May morning and we were rather shocked by how many schools had arrived with rockets, and the presence of the Mayor, The Essex STEM team, the Rocketry Club and BAE communications team added a pageant and portent to the atmosphere. Then they told us we were in the first launch batch. Mr Shepstone colleywobbles were allayed by Will’s dad, Mr Hickman who calmly took our BCHS STEM#1 team through the pre flight checks, and helped keep thing calm when the scrutineer rejected our first two attempts at flight preparation.

Finally, after two delays during which the beautifully finished tailplanes fell-off, we were ready. With Will, Carter, Bradley and Praise working like an oiled machine we were ready to launch.

As it rose majestically into the air when Carter fired the button, we could but wonder as it rose about 70m into the air, caught fire, deployed the upper section ,the lower section  skewed to the right into the crowd,  bouncing off a picnic table, the upper egg part floating to the ground – with a thud!