Over the July holidays 170 pupils from 30 schools in the Gauteng region, including 30 teachers competed a computer Aided Design (CAD) introduction course in preparation for the 2017/18 F1 in Schools race season.
The training, provided by Sangari Education, was done at Tshwane University of Technology. The teams that attended are competing for the chance to go to the international competition in 2018.
“Students and teachers worked through tutorials, and on completion, each team designed their own F1 cars that will be competing in the racing scheduled to start in August,” said Pieter du Plessis, F1 in Schools programme manager at Sangari Education.
“Based on each team’s design, the F1 cars will be manufactured at Sangari Education’s offices overlooking the Kyalami race track. It is a great setting to prepare for the F1 in Schools competition,” he said.
The racing cars are designed using Siemens’ Solid Edge CAD software supplied locally by ESTEQ, who are also assisting Sangari with training of the teachers. This software is used for designing the shape as well as simulating the airflow allowing the design to be optimised before sending through for manufacture on a high-precision milling machine.
“The vehicles are then tested in a wind tunnel to ascertain the resistance characteristics and modifications are made if necessary.” The world record is 0.997 seconds for the F1 cars rocketing along the 20m race track.
In support of the F1 in schools Challenge the Gauteng Department of Education has deployed Technology Senior Education Specialists in every district to assist with the roll-out of the programme. The Department is excited to see the impact the experience will have on the learner’s ability to relate to the theory being taught in the technology syllabus and the overall improvement in Maths, Science and Technology results, said Mr du Plessis.
F1 in Schools is as an educational competition that promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) where schools build a model F1 racing car and compete in inter-school racing competitions. The winning team will represent South Africa at the international finals later this year,” said Bez Sangari, CEO of Sangari Education.
Pule Kgasoe, teacher at Aurora Girls High School in Soweto, who competed in the 2016/17 season, said: “The competition has raised our students’ work ethic. They are now more organised and disciplined, and the programme has created new interest in maths and science.”
“The F1 programme has also enabled students to gain more confidence as well as improve their time and resource management skills,” he said. “Team work has encouraged students’ on a journey of self-discovery. New career paths are being explored based on the various roles each student plays in the development of their F1 car.”
Mr Kgasoe said there is also more interest from other students who have seen the benefits from learning science and maths.” Mr Sangari added that the programme develops entrepreneurial skills in students who are required to research, prepare a business plan and build links with industry to gain sponsorship. Students gain first-hand experience in marketing and accounting as they need to provide a complete portfolio as part of the competition.
“The F1 competition focuses on blended learning through a cross curricula approach where learners physically apply what is learnt in the classroom. The true value lies in how learners take ownership of their own learning,” he said.
“What makes the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge different is that it entails a comprehensive and inclusive learning approach. Learners engage with subjects that improve their literacy, numeracy, sport and sports science, design and technology, art and design, textiles knowledge, STEM learning, computing, and business and enterprise,” concluded Mr Sangari.