An Incredibly Motivating Learning Experience
This is how Rishi Radia, Careers and Outreach Officer at The Royal Aeronautical Society, described the Cool Aeronautics event at RAF Halton this week.
A total of 60 Children from two schools, namely Oakley School and Brill School took part in the latest round of Cool Aeronatics, under the the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM) umbrella.
Trenchard Museum is working with the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) to promote aerospace and aviation to a new generation, these events are free to attend and offer a fantastic opportunity for young people, the new generation, to meet inspirational people from across the industry and to engage with aerospace themed activities that are relevant to the current KS2 National Curriculum.
The children were split into six groups and took part in six different activities in the all-day event at various locations on the Station.
In one activity the children were briefed by pilots of the Halton Aero Club and Microlight Club on the principles of flight and given the opportunity to sit in a light aircraft as the pilot.
In another activity four RAF STEM Ambassadors from RAF Brize Norton took the children through how a rocket performs before getting them to build model rockets and then firing them under controlled conditions.
They also experienced a map reading activity using grid references and communicating using hand held radios under the guidance of Squadron Leader Malcolm Wood, the London & South East Air Training Corp Communication officer and his team.
The British Model Flying Association (BMFA) lead the aircraft model making activity under Jim Wright and his team, when the children made Aerojet models and flew them, supported by Squadron Leader Dempster Hamilton from High Wycombe.
The volunteers from Trenchard Museum, also lead a number of other activities including the children ‘flying’ a Chipmunk aircraft flight simulator, a Link trainer simulator (made in Aylesbury by Air Trainers Limited in the 1950s) and discussing the principles of aerodynamics. Next was the STIXX activity where they converted old newspaper sheets into solid rods and then designed and used the rods to build models under the guidance of RAF STEM Ambassador from Benson, Flying Officer Hannah Parker with support from Flying Officer Jonny Threlfall, a future RAF pilot and Flight Sergeant Len Brettell, STEM Ambassador based at RAF Halton.
Rishi Radia, who recently took up his appointment at The Royal Aeronautical Society Headquarters in London, attended the event for the first time. He said: “The location and facilities here are extremely well equipped and the range of activities gives the children a well rounded view of aviation and military, and engages them in STEM. RAF Halton is one of our biggest supporters as they have a wealth of museum volunteers ready and willing to share their knowledge introducing them to basic physics. At the Royal Aeronautical Society we have a fund that schools that are not so well funded can tap into to help with transport costs. All in all I have enjoyed seeing the event and will be back.”
Twelve young RAF recent recruits provided invaluable support throughout the day assisting with moving the children safely around the Station and supervising the activities.
Bill summed up the day, saying: “Another very hectic day for all concerned but the smile on the children’s faces throughout the day and as they were given their goody bags provided by the Royal Aeronautical Society at the end of the day, made it all worthwhile.”
Rishi emailed Bill McGrath to say: “Just a quick email to say thank you for accommodating me at the Cool Aeronautics event last Thursday. It was great to see the event in full swing, and your dedicated team of volunteers at work. Your Cool Aero events are great, and you have incorporated many activities for the young people. Your passion and enthusiasm in inspiring the next generation is second to none, and this is truly reflected by all your volunteers who take thorough pride in what they do. I would very much like to visit Halton again in the near future. Thank you for your dedication to the Cool Aeronautics programme, and I very much look forward to meeting you again.”
Rishi went on to say: “The location and facilities here are extremely well equipped and the range of activities gives the children a well rounded view of aviation and military, it engages them in STEM. RAF Halton is one of our biggest supporters as they have a wealth of museum volunteers ready and willing to share their knowledge introducing them to basic physics. At the Royal Aeronautical Society we have a fund that schools that are not so well funded can tap into to help with transport costs. All in all I have enjoyed seeing the event and will be back.”
STEM Ambassadors, museum volunteers and Servicemen Awaiting Trade Training, SATTs, all assisted to make the day yet another success.
Organiser of the event, Bill McGrath, said: “I have had some extremely complimentary comments and letters from the schools teaching staff, and we are well on the way to getting 1000 children through the programme as our contribution to RAF 100.”
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