Inspirational Formula One Factory visit for Greenpower Girls
Ivybridge Community College is delighted to be taking part in the Greenpower Electric Vehicles Challenge.
This national competition is organised through the UK charity Greenpower Education Trust. The Trust inspires young people around the world to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through a unique challenge: to design, build and race an electric car.
Greenpower - A Driving Force for Girls in STEM
May 2022 - update
On Friday, 6 May, Ivybridge Community College girls in Year 10, who are part of the College’s Greenpower Electric Vehicle Challenge Team, visited the Williams F1 factory, in Oxfordshire.
Craig Jewell, teacher of Physics at the College, who is championing this initiative through his weekly Girls in Science Club, said, “We had a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to go behind the scenes at the Williams F1 factory. We were granted special access for a tour, not normally done with the public, to see how they manufacture and test their F1 cars. Highlights included seeing Formula E cars in a car sized simulator rerunning its previous race, and this year’s F1 car in the wind tunnel being tested for aerodynamics.
The students had access to areas that even staff at Williams don’t normally get to see, and they were able to ask lots of questions to the Head of Research and Development. We were also offered the opportunity for work experience which I hope to support the girls to take up. It was certainly a special trip.”
Mr Jewell added, “Once again a huge thank you to Western Power Distribution for helping organise and fund this trip, their help with promoting Girls in STEM has really allowed me to take it to the next level this year.”
Nick South, Western Power Distribution’s Education Officer, said, “As a company that wants to encourage more young people to work in engineering, it was wonderful for us to see how much the girls were inspired and motivated by the Williams visit, and how it has heightened their awareness of career possibilities in this exciting sector.”
Following the visit the girls gave really positive feedback, "The trip was incredibly insightful regarding the development of the car and our understanding of mechanics, as well as seeing the opportunities that are open to us in the future.” Eleanor. "I really enjoyed it, the trip was amazing." Lola. "It enlightened my experience and knowledge of motor sports." Bethany.
"From a personal perspective the chance to see the Williams F1 factory was a once in a lifetime experience and has really motivated me to work my hardest on the GreenPower car.” Erin. "Seeing the incredible precision in the manufacture of the cars gave us ideas to improve our own car, which is really beneficial. The carbon fibre was also really cool." Darci. "It was an amazing opportunity for us to see what it is like to work in a professional and high-tech environment. I've definitely been inspired after seeing the reality of working in STEM." Amelia.
April 2022 - update
At the end of April the car was taken for its first test run on the College’s running track.
Craig Jewell, teacher of Physics at the College, who is championing this initiative through his weekly Girls in Science Club, updated us with the following information, “The car has now been tested for the first time, meaning we could put it through its paces. The girls were testing the car to practise driving it at race speeds, as well as starting to come up with possible test ideas. In the future we hope to be able to test the following: top speeds, acceleration, power usage per lap and many more. The body work has not been added yet, and there are still plenty of adjustments to be made, but it was very exciting to see the car outside and moving under its own power.”
Jasmine P, one of the students involved in the project, commented, “Mr Jewell spoke to the whole of the Girls in STEM group offering us the unique opportunity to be part of an all-girls race car team, which we design and build together. The racing aspect at the end of the year particularly interested me, as well as the amazing opportunity to work with Western Power helping us learn new skills and have an insight into the possibilities that Physics and STEM can have in future careers.
Personally I have enjoyed learning how to use the new equipment to check and build the car. As well as the knowledge of components and Physics used to understand how the car works. This project has opened up future career possibilities and overall has been a very successful opportunity which our team have enjoyed working on throughout the year.”
During the latest session the girls began to test the car outdoors. They now have safety gear and have done some initial driving. The next step will be full driving training and taking measurements on the car’s performance.
“Every Wednesday evening, we (a group of girls interested in STEM), are building an electric car, which at this point in time is all working, except that there is no bodywork. However, this is kindly being provided by a local company. We are also waiting on the safety gear needed for us to drive the car. This should be arriving very soon around the start of the week beginning Monday, 4 April 2022. Once we have the gear we can all drive and this is so exciting. We can’t wait!”
Darci added, “Throughout our time building the car we have gained experience and knowledge in using familiar and new tools, and learnt about the proper way to wire electrics in vehicles. This has given us an insight into the future of cars and renewable energy.”
Craig Jewell, said, “As an update to the first progress report, we are delighted to have now secured the bodywork specialists company, Quantum, to manufacture the body work pieces. The girls, through attending the weekly club, have now finished all but the motor, which means that we are close to a working car. So far they have succeeded in carrying out: complex fixings, wiring, cutting pieces to size, and learning all the tricks of the trade they can from the volunteers from Western Power Distribution and Quantum whenever they are with us. The girls have put every component together, with only supervision and advice from specialists. It is 100% their car, and they know the most about how it works.
One group of students has now prioritised building data from the competition to come up with a race plan, and are currently coming up with suggestions for improvements to the vehicle. They are looking into ways of collecting data from their own build, so they can monitor it mid-race.”
Craig Jewel, teacher of Physics at the College, said, “I am delighted that 15 girls have currently signed up for the club. We are also very fortunate that Western Power Distribution have funded us for the kits, tools and everything we need to compete, amounting to several thousand pounds worth of equipment. Luke Skorka-Brown from the College’s Design and Technology Department, together with two Western Power Distribution engineers are also assisting the girls in building the car. We have a very exciting team to work with, the girls have everything they need.”
Nick South, Western Power Distribution’s Education Liaison Officer said, “We decided to sponsor teams for the Greenpower Challenge in an effort to have a greater involvement in STEM activities and also to encourage more girls to get involved with STEM projects. I was thrilled when Mr Jewell accepted the offer, and we have been working closely ever since. I visited the College with our STEM ambassadors to deliver the kit and to meet the team of keen engineers who will design, build and eventually race the car at a regional Greenpower Race Day next year. Their enthusiasm was clear to see, and I have no doubt that we have done really well to secure this partnership with Ivybridge Community College.
The environmentally friendly Greenpower Challenge will give the students the opportunity to develop their engineering skills while talking part in a project that’s focused on cleaner, renewable energy and the use of recycled materials to build the electric car.”
The project started during the first week of November and will run until June 2022 when the race day is. Between now and the race day the students will design and build an electric go kart style racer. They will then compete regionally and nationally seeing who can go the furthest and fastest, meaning the students have built the most efficient car.
Craig added, “During the first two sessions the students received the car and tools and started assembling the chassis. Hopefully by Christmas we should have the base structure completed, by Easter the bodywork will be completed, and finally summer will be race tactics and the race itself. We will keep you continually updated throughout the challenge with write-ups and photographs as the project progresses through the year.”
Denise Smith, Director of Science, said, "This is a fantastic opportunity for the girls. They are going to design, build and race the car. They are a wonderful group, and they are going to learn so much along the way. We love to give our students an understanding of the breadth of careers available in Science and this is a great example."
For further information regarding this challenge please visit -https://www.greenpower.co.uk/