Bede’s Hosts Prep Schools Galactic Challenge
The morning of Saturday 16th January, the Recital Room at Bede's Senior School was filled with the buzz of 45 excited Year 7 and 8 students who had been invited to take part in the inaugural Prep Schools Galactic Challenge.
Students from Marlborough House, Brambletye, Skippers Hill, Rose Hill and Bede's Prep School queued up to get their t-shirt and badge which told them which team they had been allocated to. The teams were Columbus Aviation, Astrodyne Merkon and Infinity Aerospace.
Straight away, this gave us a clue as to what might be lying ahead.
Bede's Academic Deputy Head John Tuson opening proceedings.
After a short introduction from Mr Richards and Upper Sixth student Ben Laws, the teams were taken to their bases where they would spend the next 6 hours designing and planning a space port.
This is a futuristic space station designed for space tourism. The brief was to design it to hold up to 600 full time residents (holiday makers) and a further 400 part-time residents who would deliver goods to the full-timers.
Pupils had to consider artificial gravity, power sources, the scale and size of the station, sleeping arrangements, asteroid-proof construction materials, water, food and toileting, oxygen levels, spaceship docking areas, on board transportation and communications including monorail and Li-Fi.
Most importantly, they had to think about the cost of the whole operation and attempt to calculate their expenses!
Our team (Astrodyne Merkon) was composed of pupils from Rose Hill and Bede's Prep School. We had to pick a President, a Vice-President of Marketing, a Head of Structural Design, a Head of Operations and a Head of Human and Automation.
We chose Eliane Boyer as our President, Georgie Cloke as our Vice-President of Marketing, Tommy Whitlock from Rose Hill as our Head of Structural Design, Adam Bradley as our Head of Operations and finally George Lewis as Head of Human and Automation.
Next we sorted ourselves into subteams so that we could all work on different parts of the project.
"Structural" designed the outside of the pod and worked out how to create artificial gravity, "Operations" thought about the two AIs and costed the project (a mere £7 trillion!) and "Human and Automation" designed the interior, including the sleeping quarters, living areas, leisure facilities and bathrooms.
After a break for a delicious lunch of sausages, chips and beans, we resumed our planning and pulled everything together in a group PowerPoint.
We had loads of obstacles and problems to overcome along the way, for example the computer which had the powerpoint crashed about an hour before we were due to present, and we had disagreements which we had to work through in order to find a solution.
Towards the end, it was a real rush to finish but this only added to the fun.
We were led back to the Recital Room where we presented our work to a panel of judges, our parents, and Bede's Headmaster Dr Maloney.
The winning team, Columbus Aviation (Marlborough House and Brambletye) gave a slick, polished presentation coupled with superb technical drawings. Even though we didn't win, our team was amazing and I was really proud to be part of it.
This was a fantastic experience, and I not only had fun but I learnt so much from it.
I would like to thank all the Sixth Form Physicists, in particularly Nadia Gjerdingen (our CEO) and Summer Brighton (our Technical Adviser) for all their help and support, and Mr Richards and Ben Laws for organising the event.