Before I was a teacher I was in the military and worked closely with the Royal Air Force on many occasions. I had seen the RAF100 resources at teacher training events this year but it was only recently that I got round to making one of the glider kits they were giving away. It was fun and easy to follow and I was excited to try it out as a whole class activity.
The Year 8s at my school were just about to finish their internal exams and there was a period of about three weeks before the summer holidays, so I decided that all of Year 8 would work on this RAF100 project in lesson time. The website was really good with student worksheets, teacher instructions, videos and the history of the RAF.
I chose four out of the eight activities and set about printing out resources and buying in supplies of foam sheets from eBay.
The students had a great deal of flexibility when they were working on the project, selecting which activity to complete. Some have spent the time making their glider and then testing how far it flies with different masses and centres of mass, then trying the extension activity where they investigate adding control surfaces. Other students have moved onto an activity investigating air drops and how supplies can be delivered, while some have made an anemometer to measure airspeed and researched the history of Operation Black Buck.
After exams is a tricky time of year to keep students engaged in their lessons. The RAF100 website offers a whole range of hands on activities which have kept my class occupied and interested for the last few weeks and, as they now start to write up their reports, it is great to see how much they have enjoyed the work. This is definitely an activity that will be used next year in extracurricular STEM clubs and we are looking forward to trying the other activities on the website.
Lewis Matheson is the Head of Science at Kingswood School in Bath and also runs the website www.alevelphysicsonline.com.
To try out the activities, visit www.raf100schools.org.uk/activities, and receive a free glider pack per teacher who signs up on the website. You can also visit www.raf100schools.org.uk/events to look out for CPD near you.